Posts tagged: women's rights
What if gun rights were regulated like abortion rights? Here’s a list of just some of the hoops you’d have to jump through before you could own a gun:
- Only one store in the entire state would sell guns. (See: Mississippi, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming for states with only one abortion provider.)
- You’d have to fill out an enormous personal background check including intrusive personal information that has nothing to do with your ability to own or use a gun. Then you’d have to wait at least 72 hours and come back to the store. (Remember, it’s the only one in the state. You better hope you don’t live on the other side of Wyoming.)
- Upon your return, you’d have to sit through intensive mandatory counseling. Your counselor, regardless of his personal beliefs, would have to tell you that gun ownership is actually a bad idea, and that it would negatively effect your mental health to own a gun. (This, despite there being no scientific evidence to support the claim.)
- Next, you’d sit through a gruesome movie showing the actual aftermath of domestic gun crimes. You’d see people with half a head. You’d see dead children in their beds. You’d see the bloody aftermath of a school shooting. You’d be shown statistic after statistic warning you that you’d be contributing to this morally degenerate sanctioning of murder.
- If you lived in Virginia, you’d have to come back (again) for an invasive and uncomfortable fMRI (which costs around $300 out of your pocket) to ensure your honesty in answering all the background check information and your intentions to use your gun responsibly. (This was as close as I could get to the invasive transvaginal procedure included in the recently passed Virginia bill.)
- Oh… and if you were married, your spouse might have to sign off on your gun ownership.
THIS IS MARRIAGE!!
Permission to be a bad ass. Nod.
He looks back at the guy like, “SEE THAT? SHE SAID YES. YOU’RE SO FUCKED.”
Like, guys. Sparta was so kick ASS sometimes when it came to women. Spartan women were given these small knives so that if their husbands came home and tried to hit them or assault them, they had a weapon within reach. That weapon was for CUTTING THEIR HUSBANDS’ FUCKING FACES so that when he went out in public everyone would know he was an asshole, abusing jerkface and they would publicly shame him.
I DID NOT KNOW THAT THAT IS GREAT
LET’S JUST TALK ABOUT SPARTAN WOMEN FOR A SECOND.
In Sparta, women could own land and were considered citizens. THAT IS A HUGE BIG FUCKING DEAL. Why? Because that was RARE AS FUCK and there are lots of places TODAY where women don’t even get that much.
Divorce was totally fine, and a woman could expect to keep her own wealth and get custody of the kids because paternal lineage wasn’t very important. And it didn’t make her a pariah! She could totally remarry, no big deal at all.
Spartan women participated in some fuckin’ badass sporting events, too. And because they were expected to be as physically fit as the Spartan menfolk (who all had to serve compulsory military duties, btw, and couldn’t marry until they finished them at thirty) they didn’t have time for lots of swishy dresses. So they wore notoriously short skirts. According to some accounts, their thighs were visible at all times. HOLY SHIT.
Also, In Sparta men only got their names on their graves if they died in battle. And women? Women only got their names on their graves if they died in childbirth. THE SPARTANS COMPARED CHILDBIRTH TO FUCKING BATTLE AND IT WAS VIEWED AS A GODDAMN BADASS AND HONORABLE WAY TO GO OUT.
FUCKING SPARTAN WOMEN. THIS DUDE HAD FUCKIN’ BETTER MAKE SURE SHE’S COOL WITH WHATEVER HE’S DOING, IF HE KNOWS WHAT’S FUCKIN’ GOOD FOR HIM.
“For every one female lead there’s five supporting men, that’s what we need to work on evening out.” — Anna Torv (X)
Sometimes I have the time and patience to get from an idea to a fully fleshed-out, penciled, inked and coloured comic.
Sometimes I don’t.
I married my husband on July 9th, 1988. I was 18, he was 19. Young, but so incredibly in love. In 1998, we welcomed our first child into the world. A little girl, so perfect and precious that I cried upon looking at her. Our second daughter was born three years later, and our son, four years after that. In 2009 we decided to try for one last child. We were hoping for another boy for our son to play with. But in December of that year, my husband began to get ill. He was slower, more tired than usual. We chalked it up to his increased hours around the holiday season, and left it at that.
By February, we knew something was seriously wrong. So he went in to get checked out. Unbeknownst to us, a tumor had been stewing in his pancreas. He was given at most eight months. Around that time, I too had begun to feel ill. Already frantic because of his situation, and terrified of leaving our children without any parents, I was checked out as well. I wasn’t sick, or dying. I was pregnant.
We have a mortgage on our house, a house that lets us live in an area of town with a good school and low crime. We now had medical bills, because a teacher’s health insurance isn’t amazing. We had the money that went to feeding a family of five, the expenses of three school aged children. Before the cancer, we longed for a fourth. Now, it was the most terrible thing anyone could have told us.
My husband and I talked it over. Were I to give birth, I would most likely need another C-section. I was high risk because of my age, already 40 years old, and had already had one with my last pregnancy. Adoption was not a possibility- half-black, half-brown babies aren’t the most desirable children in the adoption market. And me taking time off of work, or even taking time to take care of myself with three children and a dying husband just wasn’t feasible.
We decided to abort.
And, in all honesty, it is one of the best choices I have ever made. My husband passed away that August. My children still have their home, and even though making ends meet has been hard, with medical bills and reduced income, and we have even had to rely on a soup kitchen one especially bad week, we have gotten through this. I could not have done it had I had that baby. Abortion is often the most responsible option, taken by someone who knows full well what loving a child is like.
In conclusion, never judge someone like me for having an abortion, until you look at your three children and wonder where their next meal is coming from.
tw: sexual and physical abuse
Meet Aparna Bhola, India’s teen sex educator
“There’s nothing to giggle or be shy about; there’s no shame in it. It’s important for us to learn about these things. Be totally bindaas (carefree) and ask me questions,” says Aparna Bhola, with a wide smile.
It’s a hot Sunday afternoon, but the stifling Mumbai summer air does nothing to curb the enthusiasm of the girls surrounding her. Aparna, a spunky 16-year-old, is in the midst of giving a group of her peers a candid sex-education class, and today’s topic is pregnancy. She leads the class confidently, dispelling superstitions with funny stories and apologizing disarmingly for her chalk drawing skills.
Aparna is member of a nongovernmental organization called Kranti, meaning “revolution,” which strives to give young women rescued from prostitution access to education and new opportunities. She was teaching the class as part of a partnership with an organization called Project Crayons, which runs a shelter for girls in Mumbai’s Malad neighborhood.
The daughter of a sex worker, Aparna grew up in Kolkata. Her mother, Malti, was married when she was 9 and was beaten by her husband. When she ran away and returned to her hometown in the Sundarbans, her aunt took her to Kolkata under the pretense of sending her to school. There, Malti was sold into sex work for 10,000 rupees ($180 at current exchange rates) when she was 12 years old. When she initially refused to be a prostitute, the brothel owner stuffed chili powder in her genitals to force her into submission, says Aparna.
Growing up in red-light districts, Aparna says she was distressed by the way doctors routinely mistreated sex workers because of the stigma against their profession. Her mother, diagnosed with uterine cysts, was unable to get treatment for them because of the bias against sex workers. Aparna remembers a niece being refused treatment by a doctor who said he didn’t want to bother with such poor people.
When sex workers like Aparna’s mother would become pregnant, the “doctors would treat them so badly,” Aparna recalls. “They would yell at them, and even slap them sometimes. They would say things like ‘You go and pick up anyone’s child and come to me with your stomach swollen. When you were doing it, you enjoyed yourself and now what happened?’ ”
These encounters made Aparna want to become a gynecologist. Even when she was younger, she would share with her friends and peers whatever sexual health-related information she could find.
“I want to work with gynecology to cater to sex workers because I know the issues they faced,” says Aparna, her face set in a determined expression. “If I became a doctor, I could give whatever information the mothers need when they are pregnant. There would be someone to talk to them nicely when they are in pain.”
In the time that she has spent at Kranti, Aparna has stopped drinking, improved her English, gained confidence and branched out into a number of extracurricular activities. She just completed grade 11, and is working toward her dream of becoming a gynecologist. This year she will enter the 12th grade and is planning to take the entrance examinations for medical school.
She also represented Maharashtra state in the Youth Parliament, an advisory group to the state government, where participants recently discussed whether sex education should be introduced in Indian schools.
“I used to think that my whole world is within the four walls of my room, of the house,” says Aparna. “Now I see that there is a big, big world beyond that where many things are possible for me.”
“What I really want is that girls become powerful and aren’t scared of anyone,” says Aparna. “They should think in their minds that ‘I will go ahead and progress and no one can hold me back.”
Now THAT’S a fierce woman.
I don’t discuss political things too much anymore, but a recent event is one I can’t not talk about. You see, I live in Michigan, and I own a vagina. Many of my friends and relatives do, too. It seems like I can’t spit in this state without it hitting a vagina. Yet somehow, these common organs are a huge source of controversy.
“Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.’”
“What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”
Some have said she was banned from speaking because mentioning her vagina was disrespectful for the setting. But going over her quote, I can’t find what’s so incredibly offensive as to get banned for it. Especially what’s so offensive that it couldn’t be said in front of *gasp* women, those dainty flowers who need men to protect them from words and who also happen to be the bearers of most of the vaginas being discussed.
How dare she bring up her own personal vagina in this discussion! This is not the time or place for that! Except that when they’re legislating all the vaginas in Michigan, and she has a vagina, and lives in Michigan, they were literally talking about her vagina! Not just hers, but as she is a representative for the people of Michigan, I’d say her vagina is a representative for the vaginas of Michigan.
I think some found Brown’s comments to be flippant or immature, but I find them incredibly apt and deliberate. “No means no.” Some thought she was implying that she was turning down the Speaker for sex, but take another look at that phrase. “No means no.” A phrase overwhelmingly used when discussing rape, not sex.
It is a reference to rape for a law that was created by rape culture. Rape culture is in love with the idea that vaginas are not private body parts, but something for the public to consume and control and make decisions for. The idea that others are entitled to make decisions for vaginas that are not their own. “No means no” is what we say when someone is attempting to take control of our vaginas, whether it be rape or forced pregnancy through the removal of the various options to avoid or end it.
I’ve seen some legitimate criticism of this issue as being a “sideshow”, and we should turn our attention to how a representative from a town of less than 1,000 people with no medical degree suddenly finds himself qualified to make medical decisions for the entire state. But I also think that when studies show that it is overwhelmingly men who are asked to speak when it comes to discussion women’s rights*, the fact that not one but TWO female representatives were banned from speaking is an important discussion to have. These are women who have actual power, be it small and shared with many ignorant people. They have the power to influence these laws, how restrictive they are. They are the ones who will have to deal with the consequences of these laws, and they have been silenced.
Is filling out a contact form to the Michigan Republicans with every field saying “vagina vagina vagina” going to fix it? Nah, that’s slacktivism. Entertaining and silly slacktivism, but slacktivism nonetheless.
Work on the people around you. Talk to people you know, people you don’t know, about how destructive bills like this are to real actual people. Be the real actual people, put a face on it, let people know that this isn’t a theoretical discussion, but one that effects actual people with detrimental consequences. Change the minds and hearts of the masses.
This is a fight where we have to persuade people that this is more important than how they were raised or what their religion says. That is a seriously hard fight! Made harder if we appear as scary, angry monsters, even if we feel scared and angry, even if we have legitimate reasons to be. This isn’t about being angry, this isn’t about revenge, this isn’t about snarky potshots at people who disagree, this isn’t about scoring points with witty remarks, this isn’t about ad hominem attacks. This is too important to let our own individual egos choose poisonous words that turn people off from our cause. This is where we are better people than the people fighting against us. This is where we are the rational ones, the persuasive ones. This isn’t about fighting back, this is about avoiding the fight by convincing as many people as possible that one side is corrupt and shouldn’t be joined, and to join us instead. Unify as many people as possible, make it so the lawmakers find it is easier to get ahead by siding with us than siding with those who would take away our rights.
But for everyone’s sakes, whether we own vaginas or not, please don’t be silent. They silenced two voices. Let’s make up for that as much as we can.
*I dislike the idea of abortion as “women’s” rights, both in that these issues don’t just affect women’s lives and I know a lot of men who can get pregnant, and I’m trying to keep discussions of vaginas gender neutral, but I can’t control what language they use in articles I’m referencing