Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Asking for it

There are now four different posts begun and abandoned in my post corral, so don’t think I’ve been sitting here for two months doing nothing.  They were abandoned because they sucked, because I yammered on or meandered across various topics aimlessly, or because I committed the bloggy sin of TMI.  I mean, as much as I would like to believe that y'all would be fascinated by the details of my menopausal symptoms, I know better than anyone what makes my readers skim my semi-carefully-crafted paragraphs over quickly, looking for Boehner jokes.

Don't worry readers, I'm not going to elaborate on the many ways in which my hot flashes make me feel like killing everyone I know.  I have no desire to become the Erma Bombeck of the 21st century.*  But it's difficult, when you wake up drenched in sweat for the 14th time in one night, and then can't get back to sleep because you keep thinking about how little ultimately seems to have changed for women since you first became one, not to feel like the Right's war on women has become a little personal.

And after all, it was feminists who were the first to observe that the personal is political, and why wouldn't we still feel that way today, when we must still suffer the fools of (self-proclaimed) small government, with their big ideas about how they can make women conform to their own personal ideals through legislation?  Because of course anti-choice legislation is not really about preventing abortions, if it were, then the annual funding of Planned Parenthood might approach the subsidies we already pay for March Madness and SUVs.  Or to put it more succinctly, Planned Parenthood prevents more abortions in one day than all the bullshit so-called pro-life Jesus warriors put together since Roe v. Wade, combined.

And let's face it, when the governor of South Dakota, a state that is already on my list of top ten states I cannot hide in, tells the women that pay half his salary that he passed the new 72-hour-wait-and-mandatory-Christian-harangue law because he hopes "that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices," he doesn't really hope that women will "make good choices."  He hopes they will be inconvenienced enough or poor enough that the law will force them to carry their pregnancy to term.  He's treating the women of his state like they're 3-year-olds who have to sit in a corner until they learn to behave, and you'd think the women of South Dakota, no matter where they come down on the issue of abortion, would feel insulted by this treatment, whether they actually had to be subjected to it or not.

But that's too much to hope for, I guess.  Female solidarity has ever been a tricky thing, and the Right's indignation over sexism waxes and wanes according to whether anyone has insulted half-governor Sarah Palin in any particular week.  So the political climate is always balmy for a-holes like Mark Krikorian of the National Review, who accuses several female members of the Obama administration of being nagging, pants wearin', ball-bustin' shrews, and also to say rather plainly that our president's virility has been diminished by allowing his female counselors to, well, counsel him, and that he is a less effective leader, and we are therefore less safe, because he listens to women.  If this were true, lord, can you imagine what would happen if a female were actually president???  Every nation in the world would feel free to terrorize and/or carpet bomb us!  

So, no testicles in the Oval Office clearly = open season on America.

Unless it's President Sarah Palin, of course.   Which forces me to conclude that the only female politicians that the Right trusts to safeguard our nation, are the astoundingly stupid ones.  

No?  You explain it then.

If you haven't already seen Krikorian's inane diatribe, don't bother to read it.  Like the Republicans' daily legislative assault on female autonomy, it's all about women getting too big for the britches they shouldn't even be wearing.  I experience a form of it myself almost every day when I get into comment wars with older white men whose writing starts to take on that distinctive, shrilly defensive tone that they lapse into whenever their entire world has been shaken to its foundations by being contradicted by a woman.  I also experience it when the routine passing of a car on the freeway becomes a battle of retribution the other driver must wage in order to prove that his automotive virility has not been usurped by a middle-aged woman in a station wagon.  It's funny how much more rapidly such men suddenly feel inspired to drive when they see who it is who wants to pass them.

It's sad, really, not just because some people will never change, and you have to wait for them to die or to be too old to hobble into the voting booth before our country can take its next step forward, but also because it forces you, a woman, to continually react to other people's ideas of what is appropriate conduct for your gender.  As far back as I can remember, I've listened to other people feel absofuckinglutely free to comment upon the way that I sit, stand, walk, talk, swear, the frequency with which I smile, my failure to follow appropriate body hair removal guidelines, and whether my menstrual cycle might be affecting my judgment.  And they felt that freedom because I am a woman, and was I aware that I was deviating from how women are supposed to behave?

Frankly, I wish I spent a whole lot less time thinking about what it's like to be female.  Or I guess I wish I didn't have to.  And I don't understand why, in the aftermath of CBS reporter Lara Logan's sustained sexual assault by a mob of male protestors in Egypt, some people are saying, effectively, that there are certain places where a woman provokes an attack simply by being a woman.  

They’ve got it wrong, obviously.  There are no "certain places."  It’s every place.  

And now Egyptian women themselves, welcomed as fellow protestors during the revolution, are being intimidated, harassed, tortured, and excluded from the political fruits of their labors.  Because let's face it, if you intimidate women, tell them it's too dangerous where they are, or that the work is too hard, or that they should be at home looking after their families, or that they are too old or too fat or too ugly to deserve success, or that there's only room for one woman in here and so their real enemies are other women who want to take their slot, then you knock out half the competition in one fell swoop, right?  

I don’t have any answers for it.   I can’t even get most of my readers to make it to the end of this post, once they’ve figured out it’s one of those boring feminism diatribe pieces.  I’m not pissed about it.  I can’t be.  Lord, if shit like that pissed me off, pissed would be all I ever was.

*Unless, of course, there's any money in it, in which case - kids make you crazy!  Amirite, ladeez?