Woman, don’t you know your place?

Work has had me out straight lately as Mainers are fond of saying (translation, real busy) yet despite being busy as hell, I have been paying attention to the world happenings and frankly it’s scary. Is it me, but have the powers to be, whoever those powers are, decided to launch a full scale attack on women? Oh, it’s easy to look at all the “progress” women have made but at the same time, while we are busy living and well…being busy, it seems everywhere we look; people are looking to put women back in the safe box. I think of the popularity of the show Mad Men and wonder if the popularity of that show is reflective of a desire to be back in a simpler time in America when women and the darkies knew their place?

So with the economy in shambles and no clear path to turn the economic ship around, why are we even discussing women’s bodies? Seriously. Yet that is where we have been recently, back in 2010 when health care in the US was overhauled one of the provisions was preventative care, and part of preventative care includes free birth control. Seems like a no-brainer to me, after all preventing pregnancies unless they are wanted is a win-win from a cost standpoint, yet religious institutions and technically I work at one aren’t too happy. Specifically religiously affiliated institutions would have to pay for birth control, so now we have the Catholic Church getting pretty pissy. For real? Hey, Catholic Church you have far greater problems than a professor at one of your schools getting free birth control, pipe the hell down. Obviously this thing is making for great sound bites especially in an election year. Funny thing is even Catholic women in 2012 are rather fond of birth control and often take it regardless of what the church says.

Shifting gears we had the debacle with the Susan G. Komen folks and Planned Parenthood folks, who in the end while they reversed their decision to defund Planned Parenthood, showed their true colors and who lost a lot of goodwill. How the hell does an organization supposedly focused on saving women’s lives decide to fuck over another organization that saves women’s lives too? Politics and a warped belief system, I tell you. Despite the fact that abortion has been legal in the US for damn near 40 years, we are still harping on it, if you don’t want one, fine don’t get one, but trust that women who do make that choice are of sound mind and please get out of other folk’s business.

Just a few nights ago, we had the Grammy awards and a documented abuser of women was applauded. Worse yet, some young women took to the social media airwaves announcing how they wish Chris Brown would beat them. Really? Society has us so twisted that we downplay abuse against women. I am a big believer in second chances after all if there were no second chances, you wouldn’t be reading this post. That said, with alarming regularity we see celebs like Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen and others who perpetrate violence against women being given chance after chance. That says a lot about us especially because we still live in world that judges women and people of color far more harshly. Of course if you happen to be a man of color but rich and or famous you get some of the privileges typically afforded only to white men. Beat ya old lady, hell kill her and do no time. Looking at you OJ.

Lastly we have washed up rappers making videos instructing boys and young men on how to sexually assault girls and women. Too Short made a video of so-called fatherly advice, and XXL magazine put it up on their website…of course now that the chorus of protest has come out, folks are back pedaling. Problem is the cat is out of the bag, so once again women’s bodies are not our own. If a young man actually listened to Too Short’s advice the take away is that women’s bodies are only here for the pleasure of men.

Frankly as a woman raising a girl who will one day become a woman, I am saddened. As the mother of a young man, it saddens me to think that some young woman may find him strange and less than manly because he was raised to respect women, not just their bodies but their minds.

Clearly we are at war and this time the enemy is not overseas but instead all around us, waiting to come out and strip our humanity. To reduce us to mere bodies to be controlled by men, and damn it, I am not going to take it.

Why I support Planned Parenthood

This past week has been a fucking head trip…no, seriously. For readers that follow me on Twitter you know my world has been spinning off its fucking axis. Right now I am trying to just process everything but the short of it is that my Dad is back in Chicago. At some point I will do a post mortem on the blog but right now I just need to process everything.

However it seems that while I have been dealing with family drama, the world has just been going mad. What the fuck is up in Wisconsin? Dear Lawd, we have the governor sending state troopers out to look for Democratic legislatures who are hiding out.

We got the Republicans deciding that Planned Parenthood should get no funding…which is really the point of today’s post. By the way all you Democrats, Independents and whoever else sat out the midterm elections; y’all need to shut the fuck up. See, even when you don’t vote you are indeed voting and now we are seeing our country going ass backwards. But that too is another post.

My relationship to access to health care has always been tenuous at best. I got married and pregnant at 18, as you can imagine I didn’t exactly have health insurance so I had to avail myself to Medicaid which was interesting to say the least. Frankly having Medicaid in my experiences has always been seen as a sign that you deserve lousy medical care after all you are poor and well poor bodies especially poor brown bodies apparently don’t deserve adequate and respectful care when it comes to their bodies. At least that is how most providers treat Medicaid recipients in my experience.

Yet since coming of age there has always been one place I can count on to get my annual exams, birth control, etc and know that I will be treated well. That place is Planned Parenthood. I have used Planned Parenthood in different states and have always been treated well. Back in my 20’s when I needed birth control yet lacked insurance I could get birth control. When I thought I had a lump in my breast, I was seen in a timely fashion and treated with dignity.

I always find it interesting how many folks seem to only equate Planned Parenthood with abortions which yes they do provide and some how only see them as providers of abortions which is patently false. Yet even if that was all they provided, abortion is still a legal procedure and the reasons that women choose abortion are varied. Perhaps some women have been irresponsible, yet we also live in a time that demonizes women who have babies and then need assistance in the form of social services. Well hot damn, women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. On the other hand do we not believe in this country that people have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? If that is the case, then don’t worry what others are doing with their bodies and specifically their wombs…it’s none of your business.

That said until all women have access to good, affordable and respectful services then we will continue to need places like Planned Parenthood. Call me a fool but with states axing services that might mean even the meager services offered via Medicaid will no longer be available and all the more reason that women need access to places like Planned Parenthood. Then there are women who for whatever reason may not be completely broke but simply don’t have a health care provider for their gynecological needs. That pretty much sums up my current situation. I had a lovely midwife who delivered my daughter who decided to retire not long after I have birth so for the past several years I have been trying to find a health care provider I like and trust who I can also afford since I am paying out of pocket. That pretty much means Planned Parenthood since it’s actually down the street from my office, affordable and I actually like them which is more than I can say of a few providers I have had in recent years.

Maybe its because I am a Black woman and maybe its because my Mom died relatively early and started having health issues at approximately the same age I am now but I take addressing my health needs very seriously. After all the stats don’t exactly suggest that Black women in my age demographic are as healthy as they can be yet in order to be healthy there has to be access to services and services that are culturally sensitive which is another piece that I have always liked about Planned Parenthood.

Anyway this current issue hit close to home and I really felt the need to add my voice to chorus of voices rising up over this issue.