Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some musings on fertility and the 'place' of women-

I was just browsing through a bunch of photos of various historical 'fertility objects' when it struck me how so many of them had malformed or completely unformed faces. Sexual characteristics are in full display- huge breasts, small waists, wide hips, and occasionally lewdly displayed pudenda. Yet so many are faceless. Even headless. It's really eerie.

In a tribal, primitive society, thousands of years ago, representing women without faces might not have seemed strange. Their role was to produce and nurture children. There really was no place for them outside of it. They were merely vehicles, vessels. What did they need faces for?

I'm not sure that things have changed that much. Earlier last week Mitt Romney, heir presumptive to the GOP throne, was huffily defending his wife after a Democratic operative suggested that his wife, Ann, knows nothing about today's women because she's never worked a day in her life. Well, the op was likely right, though she went about it the wrong way. However, Mitt's response was to say that his wife worked very hard raising their family, and that he thought that we should honor women who make the choice to stay home with their children.

Except...

He turned around only a day or two later and said (I'm heavily paraphrasing here- I just finished a rather strong beer) that poor mothers should get up off their fat asses and go to work and that the children of those who don't will grow up to be lazy pigs.

Or maybe I'm not so heavily paraphrasing...

It seems that respecting the 'choice' to stay home only applies if you are wealthy. If you are poor- too bad.

Which brings us to my next point. Pull back the curtain and TA-DA! "The status of women is directly related to their degree of control over their fertility."

All things being equal, the #1 factor affecting economic security in a woman's life is her age and marital status when her first child is born. Her ability to postpone that event until she is done with her education, has established a career, and has a social/familial base to raise a child in (face it- guys don't always stick around), makes all the difference in her life for the next couple of decades. And in that of her child too- having a stable home and enough to eat matters a lot!

Being able to postpone or prevent a pregnancy is paramount in this. Not being able to prevent a pregnancy means that any time a woman has sex, consensual or not, she runs the risk of changing the path of her life and the choices she's offered in it. And if she doesn't want a child, and gets pregnant, well, I can offer you a choice of ketchup or mustard to go with it, but a shit sandwich is still full of it...

So, one might think that contraceptives would be pretty high on anyone's list, even if only for the purpose of raising the socio-economic levels of the children of our society. Well, you might be wrong.

"I don't think it works. I think it's harmful to women. I think it's harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young. And I think we've very, very harmful longterm consequences to our society. Birth control to me enables that, and I don't think it's a healthy thing for our country."

"The whole sexual libertine idea; many in the Christian faith have said, well, that’s OK, contraception is OK. It’s not OK, because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

Both of these came out of the mouth of Rick Santorum, former presidential candidate. He apparently thinks that controlling their own bodies is harmful to women, that timing their pregnancies hurts our society, AND THAT ANYTHING BUT PROCREATIVE SEX IS WRONG.

If that's the case, then God need only have made it simple instinct, like the animals. Only get the urge when the time is right, yes? But he didn't. He made it fun. Which tells me that it was meant to be recreational as well as re-creational. So Mr Santorum can go pee up a rope.

Things is, women are more than the sum of their parts. We're more than our lady bits, and we're more than our brains. Yeah- brains. We've got some of those too, and I'd guess that we wouldn't have them if God didn't think they were necessary...

We're not hunter-gatherers anymore. We have brains. AND WE HAVE FACES. And we aren't going back.

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