Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Getting to Know Your Feminist Blogger: Blogging for Choice

I know it is a little bit late but here is my contribution!

In so many of my Women's Studies courses throughout the years I have been asked to write about the formation of my feminism. I will share that story here because it has so much to do with why I vote pro-choice.

My feminism evolved out of my realization that pregnancy should not be compulsory. I attended Catholic school from kindergarten through eighth grade. With no knowledge to the contrary, I assumed that all people were Catholic. Upon entering a public high school, my entire world changed. I met people who practiced a variety of religions and even a few who had no religion. When I encountered my future best friend for the first time, she told me that she was outraged by the continuing struggle for reproductive rights. When she told me what an abortion was, I had a light bulb moment. Being Catholic, sex had always seemed scary and dangerous to me, I knew that it was related to pregnancy and I certainly did not want to be pregnant! Once I realized that pregnancy is not an inevitable part of heterosexual activity, I felt enormously liberated. That is until I realized how abortion and other reproductive rights are consistently in danger. That is when I started advocating feminism. That moment literally changed the course of my life.

Body politics are a huge part of what I discuss on this blog. Why are bodies presented the way that they are in mass media? It is increasingly difficult to tell whether media influences reality or reality influences media or whether it is some combination of the two. It is certainly easy to see how deeply held ideologies play out in media. Control of women's bodies is a theme that advertisers just cannot get enough of. And reproductive control is a large part of that.

I recently got into a heated debate with an old friend about why I vote pro-choice. This friend was upset when I said that it is unlikely that I will ever vote for a candidate who is not pro-choice. He suggested that other issues were more important, like privacy from governmental interference into our private lives. (It will not surprise you to know that he is a Ron Paul supporter.) I suggested to him that as a woman I feel that my uterus is about as private as it can get and that if that is such a pivotal issue, than this candidate is just an enormous hypocrite. Why is bodily sovereignity only a pivotal issue until it is a pregnant body? Why is this enormous hypocrisy so unimportant to Paul's supporters?

Choice is among the most important issues that I consider when choosing a candidate. I know that reproductive control is woman hatred, misogynistic, and backwards. I trust women to make their own choices. And I know that anti-choicers are also anti-contraception leaving women with NO choice. I know that I would never be able to enjoy heterosexual intercourse again if I knew that if the condom broke, if I forgot a few pills, if my diaphragm slipped or we just got careless that there would be no safety net. I believe that sexuality should not be dictated by the government and that without Roe V. Wade the privacy of one's body and bedroom would be no more. I also see major hypocrisies that even so-called progressive people are choosing to ignore because of their (male) privilege.

And finally, I know that abortion rights are not the end all of feminism because so many women do not have access to even minimal health care that choice seems like privileged feminist rhetoric and I think that that is also woman hatred, misogynistic and backwards.

I am thankful every single day for the reproductive rights granted to me by Roe Vs. Wade but like so many other bloggers today, I recognize that a lot of work still needs to be done to ensure that abortion rights are not just a mirage for so many women.


Marta Sáenz said...

New reader. Just want to say "hello".

I've suffered a horrible amount of racist and sexist abuse in my life - finding good people like you in the blogosphere reminded me that even in the darkness there is light.

Cortney said...

I am so glad that you enjoy my blog! I do my very best to be conscious of the myriad complexities that are part of understanding any social or political issue. And when I miss something I am glad to have readers who can remind me. ; )

GottabeMe said...

Great post, and great blog! Excellent point about Ron Paul's hypocrasy! I'm linking to you from my blog.

kat said...

I'm also new to your blog, and it's really great. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Finally, someone is pointing out Ron Paul's hypocrisy! I've got a couple of liberal friends who support him, and it just baffles me.....

Feminist Gal said...

I totally agree with Kat, i have seemingly forward thinking, liberal friends who are SO into Ron Paul... all you have to do is read the key points on his campaign website to realize that he is far from progressive.

Oh and as always, great post :) I agree with you that it is crucial to vote for pro-choice candidates because so much rides on who's in office (ie. appointing supreme court judges)

Anonymous said...

Please don't generalize--I am pro-LIFE (what you would call "anti-choice"), but I am not anti-contraception.