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.


The Bucking Jenny said...

To understand the reference to a "regret the can apology" please scroll down and read the blog entry entitled Bullying.

Anonymous said...

since you are using contraception for your malady, you shouldn't call it birth control pills. You should call the pills you are taking Hormones. that would diffuse the effect and sound it has on those from the right who are against birth control pills being paid by the Govt. when I took them for the same reason as you decades ago, my doctor called them hormones. It was only later that I discovered they were also contraception. cheers.

The Bucking Jenny said...

While I completely respect, and largely agree, with your point, I cannot in good faith say that is the only reason I use birth control. I also use birth control to prevent pregnancy. My husband, doctor and I feel that this is the best choice for us. I don't disagree that it is of utmost importance that decision makers, including voters, understand the medicinal aspects of these hormones. I do, however, believe that both uses of this drug are of great importance to me individually.
I wish I could separate the two, but for me, they are linked and I suspect that for many women this is a nuanced decision that is best left between her and her doctor and not her employer and her employer's God.
Thank you so much for joining the conversation, I respect your point, and will consider it as I write further. :)

alliandrina said...

As a woman, I appreciate your words- but I disagree with some of what you said. Maybe this is the true difference between left and right, but Rush didn't take anything from me. Nobody has power over me or will unless I give it to them. And I since I haven't responded to the situation in a way that I will feel guilty i'm fine. Like Whitney said "no matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity." My whole issue with the situation is that someone went to an institution that they knew may have strict beliefs and then expected them to change.

The Bucking Jenny said...

When it comes to things like reputation, which is actually held in the minds of others and not within oneself, I think it is possible for someone like Rush to take that from her. She cannot control the fact that so many people now dismiss her valuable testimony because they believe it is about sex or whatever else Rush and his friends dirtied her words with.
You say: "My whole issue with the situation is that someone went to an institution that they knew may have strict beliefs and then expected them to change."
My response is: "Oh Honey, you are missing the whole point! This is exactly why I love her. Where would we be if people didn't do just exactly that every single day?"

alliandrina said...

My response is: "Oh Honey, you are missing the whole point! This is exactly why I love her. Where would we be if people didn't do just exactly that every single day?"

Maybe I am missing the point. Maybe you can explain it clearer, because I DONT GET IT. Maybe I should walk into a mosque or a synagogue and ask where the crosses are or maybe I should go to a chinese, japanese, indian, or whatever restaurant and ask for a hamburger To me the whole situation smells of a lack of common sense rather than a true civil rights issue

The Bucking Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alliandrina said...

But, the truth is, I'd wouldn't do any of those things. I wouldn't walk into a restaurant that doesn't serve hamburgers and ask for one, I wouldn't go into a house of worship and ask for a cross, or anything else like that because I respect people. We both have rights and mine don't supersede theirs especially when im coming to their place of worship or business. You know if we lived in a country that didn't have the choices that we do have, I have much more sympathy

Ms Cyprah said...

This is a most beautiful blog that tells it exactly like it is, Jenny. Thank you.

I go one further and say that Sandra Fluke, by her fearless actions and superb calm in the face of such adversity, has shown that she is one of the best leaders America has today and she would make a fantastic president in the future because she is not afraid of standing by her convictions.

Sometimes certain things have to happen to make us realise who we are and where we are heading and I believe this moment with Sandra Fluke, and the way American women are now treated, is a wake up call for the whole country.

Thank you for inspiring all women with your empowering contribution too.

northierthanthou said...

Limbaugh's apology was little other than a tactical retreat. And like a true chess master, he attacked while retreating.

...and the right wing echo-chamber still repeats the lies he never rescinded.

Tom said...

Bravo. Well said. I don't have ovaries, but I do have a daughter. I stand with you and Sandra Fluke, and would hope my daughter sees her (and you) as an example of what every woman should be--unafraid to speak out on what is right. Keep fighting the good fight...and thank you.