Earlier this month, I lead a session at the Women Of the World-Baltimore (WOW) conference, alongside my wife, on the dismemberment of female sexuality -- from state legislatures to the media everyone seems to be taking a part the female body, dissecting our form and labeling parts of us "moral," and others "sinister."
At the WOW session, one woman raised her hand and said, "I marched about access to reproductive health 20 years ago. I thought I was done." Yeah, so did we.
If nothing else can be learned from Rush Limbaugh's recent "slut and prostitute" on-air rampage against Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student who was originally denied the right to testify on women's reproductive health on the now infamous man-only panel before a congressional committee, is that women's health and the right to own our bodies and our sexual selves is back on the firing squad after decades of reprieve.
For centuries, female sexuality has been suppressed and shunned. However, on the heels of the "free love" decade came a group of women who wanted the right to own their bodies and regulate their reproductive health without the consent of government. Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that granted women access to safe and legal abortions, the conservative right has been trying desperately to chip away at the law and subjugate women to unnecessary, and in recent weeks, invasive procedures to shame them into making the only choice they deem appropriate -- allowing the government and clergy to police their wombs.
Enough is enough.
It seems that the only time women are free to advocate for their health is when they are deemed broken or diseased. Sure, we can talk about breasts as long as cancer is involved and you're wearing a pink ribbon, because cancer isn't "sexy." But when it comes to a healthy nursing breast, we view a breast-feeding mother as somehow "lewd or indecent" and want to banish her to a filthy bathroom. Really, providing your child with sustenance is sexual and inappropriate? How many of you want to eat your meal standing in a public restroom? Yeah, I didn't think so. So, why should we expect newborns to, simply because their meal comes from a woman?
Why are we considered sluts if we are educated about our bodies? Forgive me, but I thought the definition of a slut was a woman who allowed just about anybody access to her body. Isn't that what conservatives are advocating -- that women just lie down, shut up and allow the government to have their way with us? I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in being the Right Wing's whore!
The Right wants to force women back into the confines of the kitchen where we can remain barefoot and pregnant against our will. There is nothing "natural or just" about denying individuals the freedom of choice over their own bodies because you disagree with the choices they may make. We abolished that belief system along with slavery.
Consequently, we should be grateful to the recent actions of conservatives for reminding women that the fight for our rights hasn't ended, and it's time for us to dust off our signs, lace up our sneakers, and in the words of Jay-Z and Kanye, go H.A.M. in order to protect and own our full selves!