The US government loves you. In fact, it loves you so much that it’s willing shackle your legs together. Just to protect you – tough love, baby. Now, it may hurt a bit but just try to breathe through the pain. Remember – it hurts the government more than it hurts you.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year you’ve probably noticed that there has been a general assault on women’s issues aptly named the War on Women. A name such as this, while apt, is used to sensationalize the steady chipping away of reproductive rights for women. It is an easy sound bite to fit into a 30 second clip before cutting to an outraged representative spitting lines about how there is no war on women because he is married and has daughters so, obviously he wouldn’t do anything to hurt them. And we can trust him because we know (from our long and wholly un-misogynistic history) that no man with a wife and daughters does anything to hamper their welfare. Horrifying views justified, this politician (and others like him) vote for horrifying bills that become horrifying laws that make women’s lives more difficult – I’m getting off track here. The indictment of media comes later.
There is the fight over renewing VAWA – the Violence Against Women Act – which includes preventative programs and education along with financial and legal assistance for women and children who have suffered. The bill also includes language to protect those in same-sex relationships and undocumented immigrants from abusive spouses. Clearly, this service is a luxury and outside the realm of a government’s role in protecting it’s people. Because we only fight foreign or imaginary threats (or, better yet, foreign AND imaginary). The conservative end of our government is keeping this bill in gridlock because it opposes offering protection to anyone other than heterosexual women. And even that’s a stretch.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which aims to build upon the 1963 Equal Pay Act to reduce income disparity between men and women, has also been fought and deemed unnecessary by numerous representatives (*Obama signed it into law anyway because he’s not a misogynist. Or rather, he does not wish to appear as such. He is a poitcian, after all). And, more recently, the epic abortion bill in Michigan, which includes just about every anti-abortion idea ever spouted – stricter regulations for clinics, TRAP laws, and the all-time favorite abortion ban after 20 weeks, among other things. They have, however, graciously included the loophole that a woman may have an abortion after 20 weeks to save her own life.
Under the Affordable Care Act, young women still on their parents’ health insurance, which is becoming more and more prevalent these days, are not eligible for abortion or prenatal care. So, if you do happen to get pregnant as a 25-year-old woman (or a 25-year-old anyone with a uterus) and are still under your parents’ plan? Too fuckin’ bad. Get a job, hussie.
All this to say: feminism is still necessary. The suggestion that we no longer need feminism, that we’ve moved past it is starkly contrasted by the bill in Michigan, which (this writer is sure) was crafted specifically to rile the pro-choicers into appealing, hoping the bill will make it’s way up to the supreme court to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade. You know, that Supreme Court decision which allows all women access to abortion and, thus, the ability to choose. Banning abortion, even if not outright criminalizing it, sends women back decades – to back-alley abortions, shady doctors, or being left to try your own luck falling down the stairs or using herbs that may or may not work even if you can find them. It forces women into lives they do not want and exacerbates the burgeoning overpopulation problem our world is facing. Feminism is still necessary because women are still not free, not free from stigma, not free from violence, not free from the institutionalized doubt that we have value, not free from unnecessary meddling by that concerned politician who wants nothing more than to protect his daughter from choice. This is a war on modernity, not nearly as covert as our suit-clad and money-clipped soldiers would like to believe.