I probably don’t need to address all of the recent publicity surrounding Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about rape, and a woman’s ability to get pregnant or not in cases of rape. It’s been well-documented all over the internet, and it’s been written about far more eloquently and passionately than I could ever hope to articulate myself. But bear with me.
So far in 2012, we have been subjected to a litany of proposed legislation and political discussions surrounding what happens to a woman’s body. Mandatory ultrasounds for anyone seeking an abortion; invasive and unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds were justified because if a woman is pregnant, she’s already been vaginally penetrated once so why not one more time?; a woman with a nonviable fetus should have to carry her fetus to term because if cows can do it, so can women; Planned Parenthood lost funding for reasons so false and misrepresented that I can’t even bring myself to remember them.
The GOP and social conservatives think they’re protecting women with these new regulations. I truly think they view women as a disadvantaged interest group that needs protection and guidance and someone to step in and make the tough choices for them. I think that in their deluded and twisted brains, they think they’re standing up for women by protecting life.
I don’t need any man to stand up for me, but I could really use some great men to stand next me.
I mentioned the Todd Akin drama to a dude friend of mine the other day. A really fucking smart, and thoughtful, and passionate dude friend. And his response was, “This is why I stay out of politics.”
I wish I had the luxury to stay out of politics too, but my rights are being questioned and threatened and eliminated left and right. This affects me very directly, but it also affects men. This is not a Feminist Issue, or a Women’s Issue – it is a Rational Person’s Issue. While I appreciate that said dude friend will always vote democratic for a number of reasons, women’s rights included, that’s not enough anymore. It’s not enough to silently cast your ballot and hope for the best. It’s not enough to roll your eyes at asinine politics ye not actively try to change them.
Men have a powerful role as partners and allies for women. Any man who can muster an ounce of empathy towards the struggle we are facing right now is light years ahead of his time and owes it to our society to be a voice for change. I’m tired of having private conversations with men who sympathize but who don’t see a place for themselves in the fight. So men of the world: you do have a place in this fight. It is not a place in front, clearing the way for us. It is not a place behind us, waiting for us to open the door and let you in. It is a place right beside us, as equals, fighting for equality, as equals.