No, not those. The bird is always an acceptable gesture.
No, I’m referring to a much bigger gesture. A gesture being made at the state and national level.
There are all of these bananashit bills being introduced, bills that are just so far out there that I can’t even bring myself to google and link. Bills to eliminate Kindergarten in New Hampshire, bills to make every miscarriage a crime in Georgia, bills to remove child labor laws, bills to remove safety testing on children’s products, bills to cut Headstart because women should be doing it for free, bills targeting teachers that strip them of their collective bargaining rights (teaching is still gendered feminine, so they feel safe going after the icky girls who should be doing it for free because what the hell else are they good for? Oddly, firefighters and police are exempt. Shocking.)
And of course, your favorite and mine, all of the bills at the state and national level that aim to strip women of our autonomy and our freedom of choice, and to make damn sure that we know bitches aint shit. Bills to make it legal to deny lifesaving care, to make it impossible to get woman specific care and treatment, bills that strip the funding to FEED PREGNANT WOMEN AND THEN THEIR INFANTS. Not to mention denying them pre and post natal care. If you don’t want to be pregnant? Fuck you.
If you do want to be pregnant but you are poor? Fuck you! Sex is too good for poor people!
What shocks me about all of this is not that it’s happening. Anyone who has been following reproductive rights at all in the past oh…forever– could have warned you that the right-wing would try to do this.
What shocks me isn’t how little they seem to care about children, given how pro life and pro family they claim to be. Everyone already learned that lesson when they decided that the best motivator for poor kids was pain, pain and more pain with a side of starving and cut assistance for the spectral “Welfare queen” of the 80’s.
What shocks me is the apathy from the other side, from the squishy middle, from the independents, from the sensibly “objective” people, and from ironically detached liberals who don’t want to protest because that would be “sinking to their level”.
These people, for some reason (and by “reason” I mean because of their assloads of privilege) do not see gestures of overt sexism, classism and racism as problematic in and of themselves.
Oh yes, they say– it would be awful if these things became laws, but they won’t pass the senate (they might, they might not, they might well in a year when [if, god please, if!] the right takes the senate majority), so don’t get so upset. Stop getting all lathered up over the silly gestures of the tea baggers and the bible-abusers, it’s no big deal.
Tell me again why this is acceptable?
Why is it alright for anyone to make a symbolic gesture that proudly gesticulates that I and others like me are not human? Why is it OK to make gestures against our rights, autonomy, freedom, choice, and dignity.
Why is that gesture acceptable? If I was an elected official and authored a gesture bill stripping African- Americans of their right to own property, there would be, and quite fucking rightfully so, calls for me to step down. I would have to issue an apology. That kind of overt racism is, should be, must be absolutely unacceptable.
So why are all of these gestures being met with so much apathy? Why is it acceptable to hate women (especially women of color, this shit is SO racist) so overtly?
This is the question that those who pose themselves as objective, as ironically detached and too cool to protest need to ask themselves. What level of violence would it take for you to care? What monstrous thing would break the apathy?
Feminists are organizing marches, feminists are writing letters and calling and petitioning. Feminists are not the problem here. We need a groundswell of support for women.
Because until we demand that the right backs the fuck off and actually focuses on creating jobs and fixing the economy, they won’t. Until a vast, vast majority tells them it’s unacceptable to hate women in law, they’ll take it as Carte Blanche to keep on kicking us when we’re down.
Pick a side. Because women’s rights are men’s rights and children’s rights, all of which are worker’s rights, immigrant’s rights and the rights of People of Color, of LGBTQI people, and of the poor. Because women’s rights are human rights, and human rights must not be open to debate, or gestures of contempt.