This is 2012, right? Today started with Darrell Issa’s GOP Oversight committee on the birth control mandate and the religious exceptions to it for large organizations like religiously affiliated hospitals. This could be an entire blog post in itself, but it’s worth noting a couple of things:
1. There were no women on the panel giving testimony before Congress. Issa was requested to have at least one female testify, but refused on the grounds that it wasn’t a women’s rights issue, but a religious one. Yes, you read that right.
2. There were also no doctors on the panel, which allowed them to repeat the myth that birth control acts an abortifacient. It’s important to note that hormonal birth control only has the theoretical potential to do so (and this is if and only if you view a pregnancy as beginning at fertilization, not implantation). Restricting a necessary medication on the basis of a theoretical potential is kind of ridiculous, especially if the grounds you’re restricting it on are shaky to begin with (my ibuprofen has the theoretical potential to give me liver failure and kill me - do we say I can't have it based on that idea?).
3. The utterly offensive analogy was put forth (and I luckily tuned in to CSPAN in time to hear it in full) that “one wouldn’t go into a kosher deli looking for a ham sandwich,” so we shouldn’t expect Catholic hospitals to pay for birth control for their non-Catholic employees. There are a number of problems with such an analogy: A. no one has a medical problem that can be solved by eating a ham sandwich, B. the customer in a deli is paying for the sandwich, not the deli owners. A business transaction is not the same as an employer providing necessary medical coverage. And C. Kosher delis aren’t (typically) giant conglomerates that control much of the market in certain cities. In order to make this analogy work, one would have to have the kosher deli be the only food available in town. So, no. Just no.
But feminism is outdated and unnecessary, right?
The second rage-face inducing part of the day included Rick Santorum’s main donor (the head of his SuperPAC) remarking in a television interview that birth control is unnecessary and that, back in his day, “birth control was an aspirin kept between the knees.” In other words: “keep your legs closed, sluts!” Right. Because the only people who need access to birth control are sluts who can’t keep their legs shut. Nevermind that most women I know who are on birth control are not currently sexually active and instead need it in order to function each month and would like to be able to do so without a copay - just like the many menfolk have their Viagra covered by insurance.
But feminism is sooooo 1969, right?
This happened earlier this week, but a fellow feminist blogger, Raven, got into an argument with a liberal male blogger via Tumblr and Twitter. She did not do much, if anything, to provoke him, but he sought her out on Twitter, and let off a string of personal insults, including saying that she has daddy issues, calling her a c*nt, and saying she should “go die in a fire, feminazi.” (This, surprise surprise, is the same liberal blogger from my “Feminazi” series back in June). She, naturally, blogged about this issue, warning her fellow feminists to stay away from him and not to trust what he has to say, because he clearly has some deeply personal issues with women - this is not the first time he has launched attacks on specific feminists. The harassment continued, with him haranguing her all over the internet, following her on her blog, and harassing her via Twitter and Facebook.
And then it got real. He searched way back in her blog archives and found a photo of her from last year when she was working as a clinic escort – it features her flipping off some protestors outside the clinic as she was making her rounds. He copied it, put it on his blog, and basically wrote her an open letter, saying that she had violated clinic escort protocol and would be calling up the clinic she works at in order to get her fired. All because she was a woman who spoke up against him.
But feminism is TOTALLY DEAD, AM I RIGHT?
And last, at BYU, a female student was handed a note on Valentine’s Day. She opened it up to find the following:
“You may want to consider that what you’re wearing has a negative effect on men (and women) around you,” read the letter. “Many people come to this university because they feel safe, morally as well as physically, here. They expect others to abide by the Honor Code that we all agreed on. Please consider your commitment to the Honor Code (which you agreed to) when dressing each day. Thank you.”
This is what she was wearing:
Right, keep on telling me feminism is dead and I’m just looking for reasons to be offended.