There was a time once when you couldn’t criticize anything George W. Bush, or is criminal comrades did, for fear of being accused of being “unpatriotic.” See, the Republicans have been terrifyingly successful at branding themselves as “patriotic” even as they lied to the American public, started pointless wars, and stomped all over the Constitution. What they were doing was not at all patriotic, but they declared it so.
As a feminist, it bothers me quite a deal when people mischaracterize feminism. Anti-feminist do this quite a deal, blaming everything they can on feminism no matter how absurd. But what is worse, I think, is when people who call themselves feminist attempt to misappropriate feminism for their own agenda. Feminism means gender equality. It does NOT mean that women (or mothers, specifically) deserve special privilege. Some people who advocate for such a thing do so under the guise of feminism, apparently not knowing or caring about what that term actually means.
I could list off countless examples of this, but what is really getting to me lately is the way self-proclaimed feminists have reacted to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s support of work policies that do NOT treat mothers as special beings. Mayer herself does not call herself a feminist, even though she very likely actually is by definition. It’s just as well, since people who do call themselves feminists but actually are natalism-worshippers out for special treatment now accuse her of being un-feminist.
Here’s the thing, moms don’t deserve paid leave, flexible hours, or work-from-home privileges any more than anyone else. They just don’t. They may WANT those things and find it advantageous to have those things, but that doesn’t mean that they are owed such special treatment. I might find it advantageous to be given 1 million dollars for nothing, but that doesn’t mean that I actually deserve it or that anyone is un-feminist to anyone who does give it to me. Bring your kids to work? Unless it’s a daycare, NO! Be responsible and get a sitter!
Maternity leave? Save your vacation time and save your money, just like anyone else who takes time off. Nine months is plenty of time to prepare and plan. If you can’t do that, you probably shouldn’t be reproducing anyway.
Flexible hours? Work from home? Yeah, everyone (except the employers who would likely suffer from the decline in productivity,) would like that, but it’s not always practical and no one deserves it more than anyone else, not by virtue of being a woman or a mother.
“But it’s haaard to be a mom and work!” No kidding. It would also be hard to hold a regular job while also running a farm or doing anything else that consumes a lot of time. PLAN ACCORDINGLY AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR CHOICES, LIKE REAL ADULTS!
Contrary to popular belief, employers are not babysitters for grown-ups. You have to be responsible for your own “work-life balance.” The business is paying you to WORK, not to have a personal life. Set your own goals and priorities and be aware that they are not always fully compatible and CHOOSE RESPONSIBLY!
Special treatment for moms just for being moms is NOT feminist. In fact, fear of lost money and productivity by catering to every absurd fake-feminist, natalism-worshipping demand HURTS WOMEN. Employers sometimes find themselves reluctant to hire women of reproductive age for fear they’ll turn entitle-mommy and completely screw them over. I seem to recall this very risk being one of the arguments against the feminist push to normalize women being allowed in the workplace. I really wish interviewers were allowed to ask about a female applicant’s reproductive plans, but they don’t seem to have that legal ability.
So thanks, fake-feminist natalism-worshippers. Your attempts to garner special treatment for certain women for their lifestyle choices is creating a huge step backwards for gender-equality, real feminism.
The “Walk For Life” is anything but. This demonstration/fundraiser is an anti-choice attack on women’s rights, health, and our very lives. The money raised benefits Life Network, which is an organization that attacks reproductive justice and funds FAKE CLINICS to deceive and endanger women. They’re a sick organization with a lot of blood on their hands, with the nerve to call themselves “pro-life.”
Colorado Springs will be the site of this misogynistic spectacle on June the second. It’s 2012 and people can still get away with blatant bigotry and people act like there’s nothing wrong. Not only is this event allowed and with no notable opposition, at least to my knowledge, but local businesses are openly supporting this attack on women without care.
Well, I care, and so should you. Please share this list and don’t do business with those who would oppose reproductive healthcare, STD prevention and treatment, accurate sexual education, contraception, and abortion care – all of which are necessary for healthy men, women, and children.
Also listed were:
No, contrary to popular belief (of mothers,) feminism does NOT mean worshiping the mother-goddess or giving women who breed special privilege above everyone else. It just doesn’t! You do not get to just call yourself feminist, then declare everyone who doesn’t let you have your way at all times anti-feminist. Feminism means equality, not special treatment just for you/whatever group you happen to belong to. Deal with it.
I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but something I’ve read recently brought this back to mind. Something like a year ago, I was on a pro-choice, feminist (there’s no such thing as an anti-choice feminist) blog. I forget why it came up, but I remember mentioning that I was planning on getting sterilized. It was then that I was reminded that not all pro-choice people actually are, but many are only pro-choice to the extent that it is still assumed that every woman will and must eventually have children at some point. For it was in a response to my comment where I received one of the weirdest bingos I’ve ever heard in my life. I have yet to be able to locate the post in question, my comment, or the comment of the bingoer. So, here I can only paraphrase what was said.
“You shouldn’t get sterilized. Maybe you don’t want kids, but what if one of your gay friends needs a surrogate?”
Even after all this time, I’m still just astounded by this particular bingo, and not because it’s sensible or convincing at all, far from it. Whereas other, more common bingos are stupid in predictable ways, this one takes a completely different, yet none-the-less ridiculous , approach to reducing me to a mere person-factory, rather than an actual person.
Well, this person first assumes that I have gay, male friends, which it just so happens that I do, not that this person would have had any way of knowing that. The following assumption is that my gay male friends would, first, want children, and, second, view their female friends as vending machine wombs for such a purpose. Not only am I expect to actually consider such a person as a friend at all, but I, as a woman, a friend to gay males, should agree that I am, indeed, a vending machine, and keep myself open for business just in case. The sexism on display is astounding, and especially so when coming from the keyboard of someone who claimed the title of “feminist” who, evidently, didn’t see the glaring problem with his/her words. That is just sad.
I am no stranger to vending-machine-type bingos. I remember that the first time I spoke with an OB/GYN about getting a tubal ligation, he made a point of asking about my partners. I write “partners” plural because he wanted to speak both about my actual boyfriend, as well as a hypothetical “Mr. Right” who could not have been my boyfriend. I was insulted that any man, real or imaginary, should even be considered at all when it came to my body. Yet, I was asked if I was married, then, when the answer was “no,” if I had a boyfriend, “yes.” “And how does he feel about this?” As it just so happened, by boyfriend doesn’t want children either, not that it matters, as it isn’t his decision what I do. Then the OB/GYN asked “What if you meet the right guy, and he wants kids?” As if someone who wanted kids could ever qualify as “the right guy” for me in the first place.
In these bingos, it’s always what he (whoever such a “he” might be) wants that matters most, and I’m a silly girl for not considering him first. The presumption was that what a man, any man, real or not, wants to do with my body is always more important to consider than what I want with my own body. Worse still, this argument is handed to me smugly, as if I really should agree with such a sexist denial and dismissal of my own autonomy. It’s bad enough when this bingo is offered with the man being a hypothetical partner of mine, but now I’m even expected by the bingo first mentioned to find even a hypothetical man who is only even a friend to have more right to my body than I have myself. As a woman, I am to view what I want for myself as less important than what any man wants to do with me, even in the case of men who aren’t even real.
What an awful, misogynistic world.
Edit: My boyfriend read and shared this post. When he and I discussed it, we talked about how to accompanied me to an appointment with another OB/GYN (not the one spoken about in this post.) He was expecting this doctor to ask him what he thought about me getting a tubal ligation. He supports my decision, but would have firmly told the doctor, had he been asked, that what I do is entirely my own business not his (my boyfriend’s.) Happily, this doctor never did asked and was the one who ultimately provided the tubal ligation procedure for me.
Getting sterilized isn’t easy, especially if you’re young and/or have no children. But it can be done, if you’re persistent. I got my tubal ligation at the age of 22, and with no kids.
- Be sure sterilization is what you want.If you’re anything less than 100% certain, don’t bother. For one thing, if you’re not totally convinced that sterilization is right for you, then you aren’t likely to be successful in convincing anybody else of this. Everything about you from your words to your body language needs to communicate with absolute confidence that you are done birthing kids or never want any at all.Another reason this certainty is important is because you do not want to be in that small (I stress, very small) minority who actually do regret their sterilization. Not only is that bad for you, personally, but your unrepresentative situation will be used against other men and women seeking the same procedure.
- Research your options.There are many sterilization options (for women/for men,) and it’s important to figure out which one will be best for you. It’s important too to know as much as possible about the procedure you choose, both from a medical perspective and from the perspective of the patient. You need to know what to expect, for your own comfort and peace of mind. It’s also helpful to be able to communicate clearly with your doctor, making sure your both speaking the same language, when it comes to your request for a certain procedure, and also to demonstrate to your doctor that you are knowledgeable about the procedure and understand exactly what you’re asking for.Don’t be suckered in by anti-sterilization scare-tactics. There are a number of unhelpful myths about sterilization procedures, and they’re easily debunked by honest and earnest research and understanding of the procedure. Don’t let medical myths perpetuated by the regretful minority dissuade you.
- Be prepared to stand up for what you want.You should never have to justify your actions, but a doctor will ask anyway. Be ready to give reasons, good ones, for your decision to be sterilized at that time. You should be able to go on and on all day about all the reasons you want to be sterilized, however small and ultimately inconsequential some of those reasons may actually be to you. If it helps, prepare a list.It’s also important to familiarize yourself with popular bingos, and be prepared to counter them. You do this not only to dominate the conversation, but also to demonstrate that you’ve given the matter a lot of though and are completely serious about it.
- Research doctors and hospitals/clinics.
Who even does sterilization procedures? You’ll be wasting your time if the doctor or hospital you go to doesn’t provide sterilization at all, or the particular procedure that you want.It’s also important to check reviews for doctors and hospitals/clinics, just as you would for any other medical care that you seek. You want to know that you’re in the hands of medical professionals that you can trust with your health.
- Know how you’ll be paying for the procedure.Cost varies by type, as well as other factors. How will you afford sterilization? Does your insurance cover it? Does the government? Can a non-profit organization assist you? Can you afford to pay out-of-pocket? If not, you may have to find a way to get insurance that covers the procedure, and/or set up a savings fund. You might even get creative, organizing a fund-raiser or accepting donations from charitable and supportive friends (think of the opposite of a baby-shower.)NOTE: Someone on FaceBook said that this list works well for civilians, but not necessarily military. That’s when I pointed out that I was active duty US Army at the time that I got my tubal. Yes, it’s more difficult for military, but it can be done. And, as it just so happens, TriCare pays for 100% of it.
- If you have one and he/she is supportive, bring your partner to the consultation.It will help you to have support, someone in your corner to lend encouragement and assistance. Additionally, bringing your partner will keep a hesitant doctor from bingos appealing to your partner’s hypothetical intentions (“What if you meet the right man/woman?”) Your doctor may be more convinced if you can demonstrate that you and your partner on the same page, not that you ever need anyone else’s permission to seek whatever medical care you want for yourself. Best off, now there are two people arguing for the procedure, and the doctor is out-numbered.
- Be polite.It’s easy to get angry and defensive if a doctor refuses to cooperate, this refusal often involving unintentional rudeness and condescension as well as sexism and ageism. But yelling at the doctor won’t get you anywhere, except ejected from the building. Be firm, but not hostile. You may still be able to convince this doctor yet. If not, you may be able to at least get a referral to another doctor who might be more helpful.
- Don’t back down.Don’t let a doctor, or anybody else, talk you out of sterilization, or convince you to delay your pursuit until you’ve met some arbitrary requirement like age or marriage or number of children. Don’t let a doctor talk you into other forms of birth control instead (I did take a deal to use an IUD for 6 months before my doctor would agree to give me a tubal, but that was a bargain to get a tubal, not something I accepted instead of a tubal.) You decided on sterilization, and you mean to get one. It’s your body, don’t let anyone tell you want you can and can’t do with it. It’s your mind. Don’t let anyone else make it for you.If your doctor refuses to help, don’t wait for him/her to come around. Find someone else.
- Remember that you’rethe boss.You aren’t seeing doctors to ask permission to be sterilized. You’ve already decided to be sterilized, a decision which is exclusively your own decision to make. You’re simply looking for doctors to hire for the job. With that attitude, no doctor can deny you sterilization, but simply refuse to take the job. It’s the doctor’s loss then. Take your business elsewhere.Keep the trail warm. Every time you’re told “no,” by a doctor, try to at least get a referral. Don’t be discouraged. For every time you’re turned down, you build a history of pursuit. It’s hard for new doctors you see to deny your certainty when they see appointment after appointment with previous doctors in quest for sterilization. Giving up certainly won’t help, as doctors won’t just come to you.
- Whenyou do eventually find the right doctor, celebrate!Revel in your impending infertility and all the benefits it will bring you. And rejoice that all the time and effort you spent on your hunt, all the arguments and aggravation, has finally paid off for you. And don’t let anyone rain on your parade. Don’t rain on it yourself with nervous worry. Everything will be fine.Have a plan for when the day comes. If you’ve researched the procedure, you know how it will affect you. You may miss work for a few days, or you may just have to sit on some ice for a day. Make sure that you’ve made arrangements for a ride home, if you’ll need one, as well as someone to help you out for a day or two, if needed. It might also be a good idea to have easy food and entertainment prepared at home if you need to spend a few low-key days recovering.