The thought that we might go back to what it was like when I was a kid terrifies me. Those were definitely NOT the good old days. I remember those days. I got raped when I was 12. Who told me that it was good I was learning about such things now, because I was still trainable. I was not a human to him, but a tool to be used to give him a false sense of power and superiority. Abortion was still illegal, as was birth control. Had that asshole monster of a man impregnated me, I would have had no choice but to carry that baby to term. Or find some back woods unsafe and unscrupulous hack to help me out, risking my own life in the process. Because to bring a child into my world would not have been good. My world was filled with confusion, violence and neglect. My mom couldn’t care for me and my dad was absent. I cared for myself by numbing and becoming very very fierce. There was no way I could have cared for a child. A few years later, birth control became legal and I took a big sigh of relief and went on birth control. Because even at a young age I knew that bringing a child into my world would not have been a good thing. My views of sexuality were highly distorted because no one talked about it except us kids, and those untruths were couched in the rhetoric of the day: girls who weren’t virgins were sluts and guys who slept around were studs. Vaginas were bad and penises were good. Sigh. And the folks crying out for a reversal of Roe vs Wade would want a return to that. To those days where sex is not talked about in intelligent and truthful ways, rape is not reported because it was all the women’s fault for dressing provocatively, where women are not supposed to enjoy sex, and where they are not in charge of their own lives nor their own bodies. Honestly, I fear that once we begin that backwards slide, all progress we have made towards true equality will stop and then get reversed. Women will no longer be able to own property in their own name, nor vote. It will once again become legal for a husband to rape his wife. I remember meeting a guy and beginning to date him, much later in life. He brought me home to meet his mom. Who proceeded to tell me I needed to sit like a lady and instruct me just how that looked. Along with thinly veiled comments about the proper ways to dress to please a man but not be TOO provocative. The first time I went to bed with this guy, he told me I wasn’t supposed to enjoy sex. That was the last time I went to bed with him. That’s where we were folks. In the 1960s and 1970s! That wasn’t that long ago. It was in my lifetime. Today I enjoy a certain amount of freedom but still, as woman, I have to show up in the world differently than men do. Men are not taught to be aware of their surroundings and of potential threats. Men are not taught to carry their keys handy to use as a weapon if needed. Men are not taught to stay out of dark deserted places at night. Women are taught that. Because we are still seen as prey by many men. Do not allow us to go backwards. As the years progressed, looking back I can see evidence of where I was not taken seriously simply because I was a woman. I remember talking with someone of male persuasion whom I thought was a friend, about my ministerial school adventures and how happy I was to be a minister and what I was going to do with my ministry. This man literally got a glazed look in his eye, said “how nice for you” with insincerity dripping from his voice, and walked away. It was ok for me to be a photographer, but not a minister in his eyes. Just a few years later I found out why: born again Christian being taught that women can only be and do certain things. Good thing I had a mom who repeatedly told me that I should never let anyone tell me what I could and could not do simply because of my gender. Much later, I had a woman tell me I was cute in my ministerial robes. I asked her if she would tell her catholic priest he was cute in his robes. She got offended, claimed she knew about misogyny because she worked in a male dominated field. Ok, so it’s all right to be a woman cop but a woman minister is “cute?” Not taken seriously. Again. By a woman. In some ways we haven’t come as far as I’d like to believe. But make no mistake, this movement with reversing Roe vs Wade is not about babies. It’s about taking a step backwards into time when women were second class citizens, not worthy nor able to make and follow through on their own decisions. Then will follow the reversals of other laws enacted to ensure social justice. Affecting people of color, gays, transgender, and anyone else who dares to stand in their own truth and show up differently than the status quo.
Historically, before the time of Jesus, women were strong. They were leaders. Along came Jesus. Who did not teach to subjugate women. No, he taught to treat everyone with compassion and lack of judgement. But then men took his teachings and distorted them to satisfy their own insecurities. They wrote their distorted opinions down in the Bible and refused to allow any women’s writings to be included. What they wrote is a poor example of a beautiful teaching, and what they wrote is what is driving this movement today. A movement by insecure frightened immature misogynistic males who are accompanied by brainwashed women, to squash down any attempts at equality, the things we say this country was founded upon.
There are folks who think that the leak of the opinion about reversing Roe vs Wade was a manipulative move by democrats to stir people like me up and get out the vote. I choose to think the leak was done by a person who, like me, sees the devastating results a reversal would engender and wanted the public to know what was happening behind the scenes. Ironically, I have traditionally voted Republican on every issue except the social justice ones. I believe in less government. I believe in less legislation. I believe in being fiscally conservative. But I also believe in equality. For all. For myself, I would love not to feel threatened by some guy driving a Ram pickup wearing a maga hat flying a confederate flag. But I do. Very much so. Because I know that guy would just love to knock me down a few notches. I saw a mixed race couple yesterday at a stop light with a baby carriage. In my little neighboring town. My first thought was that they were very brave to be out in public in this racist community. Oh, we aren’t openly racist here. That would be wrong. Mostly just ignorant, with a few scattered true racists thrown in the stir the pot. I’m doing what I can in that area. Slowly but compassionately attempting to educate folks. I said a little prayer for that mixed race couple. And then I wanted to thank them for being here, because I suspect what they have to put up with on a daily basis is not fun. Probably not outright violence. But covert violence. Places they cannot go, places where they know they are not welcome. I have not invited any of my black friends to come visit because I do not want them to feel uncomfortable when they see all the confederate flags flying in my neighborhood and on the back of those aforementioned ram pickups. When my husband and I bought this place, I told him if we were to fly a flag at all, it would be a rainbow flag. He told me we could do that if I wanted to be subjected to attacks by my neighbors. In some ways he was much wiser than me. As we began to have service people come over to fix things for us, my husband would deal with them. And after they left, he would tell me, “wow, that guy is really racist and misogynistic.” Good thing he dealt with them not me. After my husband died, I had to find all new service people because I guess once he was gone I began to be fair game for being hit on. In rude and inappropriate ways. Or mansplained to. Then I find out other single women in this area experienced the same thing from the same people.
So yeah, I’m angry. And I feel powerless. I have never been the type to go to protests. I vote. I sign petitions. I use my platform to voice my concerns. I talk one on one with people. I try to teach folks to communicate in healthy ways, and to find common ground upon which to begin a discuss, not a series of accusations and name calling and bullying. Unfortunately name calling and bullying is where most people are at right now. I have a lot of work to do.
If you have read this entire thing, I thank you. I needed to say it. I have no grand illusions here. I know I won’t be changing anyone’s mind with this. But perhaps the next time you want to think that the leak of the opinion of reversing Roe vs Wade is some sort of giant conspiracy to manipulate things, perhaps you might just want to consider that it is a sincere effort to not take our country back to where we were, because it definitely wasn’t great.