Thursday, May 17, 2012

This video of a mother whose child was born with clefted eyes and several other serious health problems has been making the rounds on Facebook.  The website that is hosting the video provides this description:
 People ask her why she didn't choose to abort her boy. They stare at both of them. They talk behind their back. But none of that matters because this mother knows that her boy is beautiful just the way he is. What a great video.
And a lot of people reposting the video are saying that this is a perfect example of what the pro-life/anti-abortion movement is all about.

I find this position to be very odd because I think that this video actually perfectly exemplifies the importance and the relevance of the pro-choice movement.

This young mother lives in a time when she had a choice (however limited) and she chose to give birth to her son.  She chose the right time to get pregnant and she chose to proceed even after receiving devastating news.  I think it is wonderful that her son will know she had a choice and she chose him.  I think it is wonderful that she was presented with all of the information and was able to make an informed choice about what was best for her and her family.  I think it is wonderful that all women have that choice and I would love to live in a world where every child is wanted and loved as much as Christian is wanted and loved.  That is the pro-choice dream in action right there.

Go watch the video and tell me what you think.  It is a very moving piece. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Favorite Andrea Dworkin Quote

I love Andrea Dworkin.  I know she is a contentious feminist scholar and there have been a lot of fair criticisms of her work (and plenty of unfair ones).  But I find her work to be endlessly useful to me.  When I first read Pornography: Men Possessing Women, it made me very angry.  It awoke something in me that I had no idea was there.  It cemented my slow transition from fun, liberal, pro-sex feminism to radical, militant feminism.  Whether I like what Dworkin is saying or not, in most cases, I know it is true and that can be really, really hard to swallow.  This lengthy quote has been a favorite of mine for a long while.  Enjoy. 

“It is the naming by decree that is power over and against those who are forbidden to name their own experience; it is the decree backed up by violence that writes the name indelibly in blood in male-dominated culture.  The male does not merely name women evil; he exterminates nine million women as witches because he has named women evil.  He does not merely name women weak; he mutilates the female body, binds it up so that it cannot move freely, uses it as a toy or ornament, keeps it caged and stunted because he has named women weak.  He says that the female wants to be raped; he rapes.  She resists rape; he must beat her, threaten her with death, forcibly carry her off, attack her in the night, use knife or fist; and still he says she wants it.  She says no; he claims it meant yes.  He names her ignorant, then forbids her education.  He does not allow her to use her mind or body rigorously, then names her intuitive and emotional.  He defines femininity and when she does not conform he names her deviant, sick, beats her up, slices off her clitoris (repository of pathological masculinity), tears out her womb, lobotomizes or narcotizes her (perverse recognition that she can think, though thinking in a woman is named deviant).  He names antagonism and violence, mixed in varying degrees, ‘sex’; he beats her and names it variously ‘proof of love’ (if she is wife) or “eroticism” (if she is mistress).  If she wants him sexually he names her slut; if she does not want him he rapes her and says she does; if she would rather study or paint he names her repressed and brags he can cure her pathological interests with the apocryphal ‘good fuck.’  He names her housewife, fit only for the house, keeps her poor and utterly dependent, only to buy her with his money should she leave his house and then he calls her whore.  He names her whatever suits him.  He does what he wants and calls it what he likes.  He actively maintains the power of naming through force and he justifies force through the power of naming.  The world is his because he has named everything in it, including her.   She uses this language against herself because it cannot be used any other way… Men, because they are intellectually and creatively existent, name things authentically.  Whatever contradicts or subverts male naming is defamed out of existence; the power of naming itself, in this system, is a form of force. (17-18)"