Z
MCN Blogs
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

Dear RNC: Please Stay Out of My Ladyparts. Thanks.

I’ve been talking to various friends over the last few weeks, trying to figure out exactly when and where this apparent Republican war on women has its roots. This has to have been going on for a while, in subtler ways, even though it feels very much like it sprung out of nowhere in full bloom. I don’t think more than a day has gone by lately that there haven’t been at least a couple posts in my Twitter and Facebook feeds about a Republican politician saying something that’s blatantly misogynistic, or yet another bullshit piece of legislation aimed at controlling women and their ladyparts. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so goddamned serious. I, for one, am getting awfully tired of old Republican men crawling all up in my vagina. If I didn’t invite you there, you don’t belong there.

My home state of Oklahoma passed a version of personhood legislation, which officially makes the Oklahoma legislature more stupid than …. well, than all the states that have shot down this legislation. If you are a liberal, a feminist, a supporter of the right of women to control their own bodies and their own lives, the personhood movement should scare the shit out of you. So should every single item on MoveOn’s list of Top Ten Republican Attacks on Women.

It baffles me that any woman would be a member of the Republican party at this particularly dark point in its history. I don’t care what your fiscal politics are, or if you think Obama care is Socialism (it is, but that’s not a bad thing to everyone, kids). If you are a woman and you are a Republican, if you are out there supporting Santorum or Romney or Gingrich, and most especially if you are, God forbid, a female politician drafting or supporting or voting in favor of anti-woman legislation, it is time for the rest of us to stand up and say: You are being a traitor and a disgrace to your gender. Period. We’re just past the point where we can be nice about it.

Look, I get the emotion behind the anti-abortion stance. There was a time in my life when I, raised Catholic as I was, aligned myself with the pro-life movement. When I was in the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature in college, believe it or not, I authored and supported pro-life legislation. But sometime in the years right after college, around the time I got divorced and left Oklahoma, my views underwent a major shift. I’m not sure I can pinpoint what caused that shift, but certainly many of the conversations and debates I had over abortion legislation with liberal friends back in those college days had an influence. My personal views on abortion didn’t change; it would still take something really extreme for me to consider having one myself. But what I came to realize is that I can hold that value for myself, but that I can’t make that decision for another woman. And I don’t want anyone else making it for me.

To control the access of women to abortion and birth control is to reduce the worth of women to nothing more than incubators. It’s more than just a slippery slope, it’s an avalanche. You know how you stay in power when you’re afraid of a large chunk of society opposing your views? You dehumanize them, you legislate away their self worth. In Nazi Germany, they did this by chipping away at the rights of Jews a drip, drip, drip at a time — a curfew here, a law about who could sell to a Jew or buy from a Jew there, a gold star here, taking away property rights there, a ghetto here, a train to Auschwitz there. Those Nazis sure knew how to dehumanize an entire race of people, but more importantly, they knew how to numb the populace to the horrors they were perpetrating: by committing those horrors a bit at a time, and then by fear.

We’ve been sitting back, jaws agape, while Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Rachel Maddow express our outrage. But where is our collective outrage? Where is the outrage that drove the suffragists, who fought for the right we have to vote these assholes out of power? Where is the outrage that drove our mothers and grandmothers to burn their bras, to march for equal rights and equal pay (which, AHEM, we still do not have)? Women need to be uniting here. Organizing marches. Protesting. Occupying, even. If we don’t all stand together to protect the rights of women in this country, if we allow the Republican party to control this conversation and pass laws that shackle over half our population, we really are headed to hell in a handbasket.

2 Responses to “Dear RNC: Please Stay Out of My Ladyparts. Thanks.”

  1. Sheila Framke says:

    Brava!

  2. L says:

    Great, but psst: the bra-burning thing is a myth. http://www.snopes.com/history/american/burnbra.asp

Leave a Reply

Z

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Chad Harbach spent ten years writing his novel. It was his avocation, for which he was paid nothing, with no guarantee he’d ever be paid anything, while he supported himself doing freelance work, for which I don’t think he ever made $30,000 a year. I sold his book for an advance that equated to $65,000 a year—before taxes and commission—for each of the years of work he’d put in. The law schools in this country churn out first-year associates at white-shoe firms that pay them $250,000 a year, when they’re twenty-five years of age, to sit at a desk doing meaningless bullshit to grease the wheels of the corporatocracy, and people get upset about an excellent author getting $65,000 a year? Give me a fucking break.”
~ Book Agent Chris Parris-Lamb On The State Of The Publishing Industry

INTERVIEWER
Do you think this anxiety of yours has something to do with being a woman? Do you have to work harder than a male writer, just to create work that isn’t dismissed as being “for women”? Is there a difference between male and female writing?

FERRANTE
I’ll answer with my own story. As a girl—twelve, thirteen years old—I was absolutely certain that a good book had to have a man as its hero, and that depressed me. That phase ended after a couple of years. At fifteen I began to write stories about brave girls who were in serious trouble. But the idea remained—indeed, it grew stronger—that the greatest narrators were men and that one had to learn to narrate like them. I devoured books at that age, and there’s no getting around it, my models were masculine. So even when I wrote stories about girls, I wanted to give the heroine a wealth of experiences, a freedom, a determination that I tried to imitate from the great novels written by men. I didn’t want to write like Madame de La Fayette or Jane Austen or the Brontës—at the time I knew very little about contemporary literature—but like Defoe or Fielding or Flaubert or Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or even Hugo. While the models offered by women novelists were few and seemed to me for the most part thin, those of male novelists were numerous and almost always dazzling. That phase lasted a long time, until I was in my early twenties, and it left profound effects.
~ Elena Ferrante, Paris Review Art Of Fiction No. 228

Z Z