Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Smart Beautiful and Willful
Lately, my hero has been Sandra Fluke. The thing I respect about her is that she spoke out for women like me, who use birth control as preventative medicine for ovarian cysts, migraines and other hormonal ailments. She spoke out for women like me, who want to pursue an education or a career without having to worry about pregnancy or hormone related illnesses. Some paint her as a zealot, but to me she is a woman who picked something to stand for, and stood up.
I fell asleep last night, thinking of Sandra and how she spoke up for me, for the real pain this medicine helps me avoid, and for the real right I have to manage my own health. I thought about the fact that when she stood up for me, she was called a slut. Not once, or twice, but more than 50 times in 9 hours over 3 days, in the ignorant hate filled rant of a man doesn't even have any ovaries at stake in this debate.
When Rush Limbaugh called her a slut and a prostitute, when he wished the shame of her family on her, and when he drove us all off track with his vile commentary, he did more than poorly choose his words. He used his power in an attempt to silence her.
Whether we like it, or agree with it, or even see it or not... women in our society are raised to protect, above all else, their chastity. To threaten a woman with the shame that is associated with sexual promiscuity is the ultimate in telling that woman to shut up and know her place.
I have read Rush's regret-the-can style "apology." I am insulted that he thinks he can say that his indiscretion is based solely on poor word choice, and in my opinion, this is nothing but a second assault on Sandra. His apology stands by his message, if not his words. His message was clear, any woman who speaks out or disagrees with him does so at her own risk.
With his "apology" he threatens all women with their own chastity, morality, purity, and character. He threatens to take them, just because he can, if we speak against him. When he said that she "has so much sex, she can't afford it," he stole a piece of her character. When he asked for her sex tapes, he chipped away at her morality. He took a piece of her to teach her a lesson against speaking out, and he did this immoral thing in exchange for money - what an act of hypocrisy!
For these reasons I am infuriated with Rush and those who support him, both implicitly and explicitly. When Sandra lost that piece of herself to that terrible man, she did so for women like me and for that I thank her. When she was told to be silent, she spoke up, and did so without backing down. For her courage, my life is better, and I will not forget that.
Here, I must interject something else which I consider to be very important; let's all remember that before Rush ever butted in, Sandra's testimony was banned from congress. Remember that infuriating photo with that line of men empaneled to discuss women's health? Well, I tell you this, Sandra Fluke does and so do I.
They told her that her voice was irrelevant that day, they told her to go home. But Sandra didn't go home. She didn't shut up when she was told. She continued to speak, submitted written testimony, and made her rounds on t.v. She took the brunt of Rush's attacks head on, and accepted encouragement from President Obama. She did so with grace, tact and wit every step of the way.
With Sandra's fantastic example in mind, I'd like to turn our thoughts toward Wyoming. I don't know how many of you are aware of the fact that as I type this blog out, Wyoming's legislators are considering these same issues in a resolution that would ask the President and Congress to "act in defense of 1st amendment rights, states' rights, rights of conscience and freedom of religion." Though I admit that this does sound noble, (and I set aside the urge to ask where their conscience objections were when we went to war three times in the last decade) I wonder at what possible objection a person could have against me having medicine to prevent serious illness.
Regardless of the success of this resolution, I am comforted knowing that our President is a devout student and teacher of constitutional law. Knowing that he respects the fact that 14th amendment guarantees that people can't be denied liberty without due process of the law, as well as knowing his devotion to his daughters and the daughters of our nation, I am not worried about his response to Wyoming's resolution.
As a final note to all those who have a conscience objection against me receiving medicine that not only prevents the pain and illness of ovarian cysts and migraines, but also prevents the opiate addiction cycle that can result in trying to treat and manage that pain when I don't have my birth control, I say this... Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Your right to a conscience objection ends at my pain and suffering. I will stand up for this. My right to a life free of suffering is of utmost importance to me. So much so that it is matched only by two other issues, the right of a woman to decide her own reproductive future and her right to speak up for herself without being silenced by the filthy words of small men.
For these reasons, my thoughts have been with Sandra Fluke and her heroism. My gratitude is to her and her voice for speaking up for me and my ovaries. In response to Rush's hateful words I offer this, she is the type of woman I'd want my daughter to be, she deserves no shame for being smart, beautiful and willful... only applause.