Thoughts on Planned Parenthood

ppWomen are smart. We don’t need to be coddled, or protected, or told what to do. We are capable of taking care of ourselves, and we’re good at it. We’re so good at it, in fact, that many of us, in addition to taking care of ourselves, are also taking care of men, children, and elderly relatives. We are, in fact, expected to take care of ourselves, plus a husband, plus kids, plus sick older relatives, in addition to working full time and doing the majority of the housework and probably most of the errands. All while staying slim and attractive and sexually desirable and finding time to go to the gym.

No wonder we’re cranky. No wonder we’re tired. No wonder we’re “crazy.” No wonder we feel like failures ALL THE TIME. Maybe you have a decent husband and 2.1 kids and you’re doing okay financially, except you’re a little fat. Failure. Maybe you can’t get pregnant. Failure. Maybe you can’t find a husband. Failure. Maybe you followed your passion and can’t pay rent. Failure. Maybe you got pregnant when you didn’t mean to. Slut. And failure. There is no winning when you are a woman; there is only failure. There is only keeping it together by a thread. There is only trying to convince yourself that you are enough. There is only doing your best, even, especially, because, your best is woefully inadequate.

And what do we require of men? That they have a good job. They don’t even have to support a family anymore. They don’t have to settle down. They don’t have to get married or have children or care for aging parents. They don’t have to grow up, or be interesting, or have hobbies, or go to the gym, or be reasonably attractive.

Men can just be.

They can even be mass murderers if they want, and nobody will do anything to stop them.

If I were a man, I’d be doing very well for myself. I have a good job. I live alone. I’m financially stable. I read. I run. I think. I have friends. I would be a great boyfriend, and I would likely have very little trouble finding a satisfactory relationship if I wanted one, and nobody would care if I didn’t. Nobody would care that I was unmarried and childless at 33–in fact, they might be surprised if wasn’t. But as a woman? Failure. Man? Success.

Don’t try to tell me that there is no double standard. Don’t try to tell me that gender inequality does not exist. Especially if you are a man.

Women are smart and capable. We are graduating from college at higher rates than men. We mature faster, and we are more responsible, less reckless, and better at investing in our 401(k)s. We know what we need to do before we can have children–finish our education, become financially stable, maybe (probably) find a partner. So, it is incredibly insulting when (mostly) men tell us that we are not smart enough or capable enough to make decisions about our own bodies. They want to tell us how to dress, instead of making other men responsible for rape, sexual assault, and street harassment. They want to tell us that we cannot have sex, but then in a truly baffling double standard (since most if not all of the men who would call us sluts and whores are the same men who want to have sex with us) get angry at us when we don’t want to have sex with them. They want to make sure that we cannot access the sex education or the contraception that we need, and then also try to make sure that we cannot have an abortion, all the while excusing the men who wanted to have sex with us, the ones who did not use the condoms that are freely available, from any responsibility.

And then, once they’ve kept women from being properly educated, and made it difficult-to-impossible to access the birth control that SHE has control over AND told her that she is a bad person IF she is even able to get an abortion–THEN–if she is poor, or has not finished her education, or works, even if it is full-time, for minimum wage, then she has to face a reality where the men in charge refuse to give her 1) paid maternity leave, 2) affordable child care, and 3) government assistance.

Meanwhile, the men are off the hook. They bear no responsibility whatsoever. No one holds the men at the top accountable for the systematic oppression of women using the tools I just described, and nobody holds the men at the bottom accountable for being EQUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING ANOTHER LIFE. If men were held equally responsible, if men had to pay the high, the exorbitantly high, cost that women have to pay for getting pregnant, especially if they are poor (and not even taking into consideration the physical burden and risks of pregnancy), the system would be dramatically different. Dramatically.

But men are free to fuck whoever they want without financial or social consequence. They may feel free to father as many children with as many women as they want, because they know that they will not be held accountable. Women know they have no recourse to hold men accountable. But when a woman terminates a pregnancy, she is a murderer. She is a monster. She should have to PAY with her life–because having a child means giving up the life you have without one. But the father of that child? That same child? He bears no responsibility, and none is imposed on him. He doesn’t have to give up anything. He doesn’t have to be educated or financially stable or have a good job or a safe place to live. And until he does, until he is punished equally for the crime of having sex, women must have access to comprehensive sex education, affordable birth control, and abortion. Women must be able to make their own decisions because they are disproportionately affected when a pregnancy occurs. Women must be able to take care of themselves, and the vast majority of us cannot afford to be single parents.

Historically, men have not made decisions for women that were in our best interests. They continue to try to make decisions for us that are not in our best interests. We don’t trust them. We have no reason to. We have to take care of ourselves, because, men, you have failed us, and failed us hard. You treat us like idiots, like weaklings, like toys to be played with and discarded, like damsels in distress who need to be rescued. But the truth is that we’ve been taking care of your asses, along with our own and those of our children, for millenia. And we’re sick of you telling us what to do.

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