The last few days I have been nigh on obsessively watching this. It’s an amazing, pitch perfect parody of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance that celebrates the Woman’s Suffrage movement and its perfectly timed for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Frankly, though, I think the reason I keep coming back to it, aside from it’s catchy lyrics (“I wanna wear pants!”), is that during this horrific political zeitgeist we’ve got right now, I really do need to see something that is joyously and wholeheartedly celebrating women’s fight for their rights and freedoms.
I mean honestly, I just can’t believe it’s 2012 and one of the biggest (if not the biggest) current election issues is birth control. Birth control! I seriously have problems wrapping my head around the logical contortions and misogyny it takes to argue against freely accessible contraception with a straight face. It’s absurd! These anti-contraception crusaders are throwing out every excuse they can think of: Religious freedom! Bosses shouldn’t have to pay for stuff they think is immoral! Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for sluts to have large amounts of sex! The Pill promotes single motherhood and will ruin America!
There’s a lot of layers to this stink the anti’s are raising (and the feminist blogosphere is doing a damn fine job of examining all of them), but every single one of those ‘reasons’ to be against contraception is just a smokescreen, a nice little sleight of hand so you don’t see the real reason for their objections: they think women’s sexuality is icky and should be tightly regulated. Of course the follow up to that thought is that all of women’s behavior should be tightly regulated and circumscribed, but that’s for another blog post.
There are three things to remember here though, the most important facts of this whole debate regardless of what other red herrings are being dangled in front of the media: women are equal to all men, we have the exact same inalienable rights among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have a right to healthcare and to charge us more for female-specific coverage or to make us jump through hoops to access it, is to deny us our equal right to life that men enjoy when their preventative healthcare is fully covered, even those parts that male-specific. We have a right to sexual freedom, to punish and fine us for deciding when or where or with whom or how often to have sex and for deciding to protect ourselves from disease or the rigors of pregnancy and dangers of childbirth is to deny us our equal right to liberty that men enjoy and are encouraged to engage in as frequently and consequence-free as possible. And lastly, but certainly not least, we have a right to equal pay for equal work and to allow our employers, religious or not, to decide that they can revoke or decrease parts of our pay, even in the more abstract form of health insurance benefits, on the sole basis of sex is to deny us our equal right to the pursuit of happiness that men enjoy when they are given full compensation and healthcare benefits for their work.
As the video above reminds us, we,the whole people, not just male citizens make up this most perfect Union. To have our freedoms limited, especially when men’s freedoms are under no such similar limitations, is to deny us our full citizenship, our full humanity. Our foremothers (and forefathers) fought long and hard, suffering harassment, institutionalization, assault, arrest, and a myriad of other slings and arrows, to bring the simple and indelible truth to America: women are people. It’s not even been a hundred years and already some of our politicians are forgetting this truth (or, perhaps, just forgetting that is not prudent to publicly profess otherwise) and are now trying to abridge our rights under a cacophony of windbags and half-hearted excuses.
History teaches us that it’s a slippery slope that leads from denying us some of our rights to denying us all of our rights. But, as that amazing video shows, history also teaches us we can stand up and fight for our rights and start greatness for the ages. This November, I fully intend to remember the ladies and their fighting spirit and use the 19th amendment to show these anti-choice, anti-contraception, anti-woman politicians that they can kiss my birth-control-using, sex-loving, 100%-free-and-independent-American-lady ass. I hope you’ll join me. Happy Women’s Day.
Update: The wonderful Mellissa McEwan over at Shakesville has written up a Women’s Personhood amendment designed to remind our legislators that women are people and that our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should never be abridged. She’s put it up at Change.org as a petition that will be sent to a select few Democratic Senators in the hopes that they will take it, symbolically or literally, and do something with it to help change the national conversation away from restricting our rights.
I also want to take this moment, since I forgot to link it in the main post, to point any readers interested in taking action against this push back of our rights to the Unite Against the War on Women site. The march will be hosted in every state capitol and a few major non-capitol cities on April 28, 2012. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to join us in raising our voices against these attacks on women’s rights.