i’m not your toy // rage #1
I had honestly and truly intended to blog about small, local toy stores and supporting them (which I did this week), but my musings and comments on them were superseded by, once again, politics.
Let me say now, for fear that everyone will think I actually like controversy, that I dislike politics immensely. I was a politics/political science major in college, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I am and always have been a strong believer in the representative and democratic system, and I believe I should vote and so should others and that we should be aware of the world. But, since politics is often divisive, I prefer to keep my politics to myself. For the most part. (There’s just no denying that I’m a liberal.)
However, Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke have simply left me angry and speechless, and I think that it’s too much to be silent about. I think often about how my sexual behavior intersects with other aspects of my life, and this is just too much of an attack on women and our sexuality to sit quietly by. The short story is that Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University, was blocked from testifying before the Congress in support of employers providing birth control. When she was asked by Democrats to testify for them, Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” and said that if employers covered her birth control, she should post video of her having sex in exchange.
That is absolutely and undeniably wrong. That kind of behavior should not be tolerated by anyone, because it tells women and girls that they don’t have a right to their own body. Some man with money and power can tell them that they are only worth something if they are performing an act for his gratification. It’s so much more than misogynistic. It makes women feel unsafe. Not just because contraceptives are used by many women for reasons other than birth control, but because it means that a woman’s very body is not her own.
I know that Rush Limbaugh is just a stupid, crazy man who says things and I don’t need to take them seriously. But someone is. Someone is teaching a little girl that sex is wrong unless she’s willing to get pregnant. Someone is teaching her that asking for protection means that she’s a prostitute. Someone is teaching a little girl that controlling her body means that she should be performing sex acts for a man with money and a voice and that she should be silent.
The Democratic Senators have launched an online petition here. According to the Huffington Post, the petition has collected well over 100,000 signatures. Donate as well if you want, but at the very least stand with people who know how wrong it was for Rush Limbaugh to say what he did. Put politics aside and realize that even if it is political, it is also so much more than political. If not with the Democratic Senators, then sign ThinkProgress’s petition here.
I can’t even imagine how much this must be affecting Sandra Fluke. To be publicly attacked like that for speaking out about something you believe in – and because she wants to protect a friend with ovarian cysts. I had a cyst that ruptured when I was a senior in high school; I ended up in the emergency room for a whole night. Was the pain bearable? Well, I guess. I needed two doses of Morphine before I calmed down enough to sleep, and I waited 7 hours for that. The next day, it was gone. But the doctor said that they might come back, and the only way to prevent another emergency room visit was via birth control. From just one night, 17 hours, I can say that I hope no woman ever has to go through that every month. According to the Huffington Post, President Obama called Sandra Fluke and told her he supported her and that her parents should be proud.
It’s not just that this whole thing has ramifications for women’s sexuality and health. It’s has much wider implications. If a smart, well-educated, respected woman is attacked for presenting facts and a well-reasoned argument in support of a policy change, what kind of message does that send other women, young women, and girls? As if girls didn’t have enough pressure to be or act a certain way already. Stand up for what you believe in, and you get called a prostitute. Not that your argument is ill-reasoned, or that there are facts that contradict what you say. No, you’re a prostitute. You should be demeaned and humiliated.
We should be teaching girls – and boys, of course – that they should be confident and educated. They are smart. They can make good decisions if they are given the right tools. They should stand up for what they believe in. They are not lesser because they are women or because they want to have sex someday or because they want to protect their bodies. When you demean a woman in part for being intelligent and educated, or say that Girl Scouts “sexualize young girls” in an environment filled with “feminists, lesbians, or Communists,” you tell her that she does not deserve a voice. She does not deserve to be bright, educated, or confident in herself. And when this kind of message about gender is coupled with sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, ability status, or any other classification that adds other layers of discrimination?
I can only wish that I were as strong as Sandra Fluke.
(Image originally posted by sinfulbitch on Tumblr. Thanks to The Huffington Post for the article links.)