No More Forced Pregnancies

This is kind of a big post for me:  I'm coming out of the closet, as it were, with my stance on a big issue.  I also intend this post to be a jumping-off point from which I do more with this issue, because I really feel that more needs to be done.

The issue is forced pregnancy.  And my stance on it is that I think it exists, in most societies including the modern American ones, and I'm sick of seeing it, and I'm sick of it not being called out for what it is.

I started to mentally identify forced pregnancy as an overarching issue some years ago, but I wasn't comfortable speaking up about it, especially in such loaded terms.  But having given it considerable thought, I believe that:

  • Many smaller societal issues are in fact part of this larger picture; and
  • People need to start pointing at the bigger picture and calling it what it is, because recognizing what it is will be key to gathering the motivation to fix it.

And I'm willing to do that now, scary or not.

I'll make more arguments, and in more detail, later — probably, I think, as part of a new section of the site, as there's a whopping amount to talk about and I don't want to confuse the already arguably pretty eclectic webpage I've got going here.  Here are some of the basics of what I'm thinking and where I'm going with this, though:

  • The core assumption of sexism, that women are lesser than men, is most directly and forcefully denied by womankind's ability to bear children (or more pertinently to the warlike mentality in play here, womankind's ability to end the fucking human race in one generation if we chose to not bear children).
  • The only way that sexist people can feel safe, therefore, is by ensuring that "the spice must flow", as it were — by ensuring that reproduction continues and continues to be as controlled by not-women* as possible.
    • You might expect these people to be more interested in using science to remove women from the childbearing equation, then, but there are several reasons to not go about it this way:
      • It's hella difficult and expensive to do.
      • Someone then has to raise those children, an incredibly time-consuming (life-consuming, in fact) and expensive process itself, and one for which no substitute for actual motherhood has been or is likely to be found.
      • Bearing children is itself a great repressor of women:  Childbearing women spend nine months physically vulnerable; undergo a major surgery for which the complication and mortality rates are fairly high; and then feel mortally obligated to sacrifice their goals, careers, health, and finances for the rest of their lives to care for those children.
      • As a result of the above, women with children are far, far less politically and socially dangerous than women without them.  So if your goal is to keep women oppressed in society, then ensuring that they have children, and especially that not much exists in the way of social and financial help for them in having and raising those children, is a great tool for you.
  • Therefore, the vast majority of all sexist activities are in fact some version of the same story:  Get as many women as possible to become pregnant as often as possible.
    • So if you've ever wondered why the more overtly sexist branches of society are staunchly against all forms of birth control, no matter how safe, and no matter how much knowledge they have of the glaring overpopulation problem the human race faces…now you know.

And there's a lot more to it than that:  I've seen nuances so layered and sneaky that it'll make your guts churn — television shows, modes of dress, turns of phrase, everything; a whole societyful of physical, political and psychological manipulation to make and keep women pregnant — details that would make Margaret Atwood's head explode.  And I intend to talk about them all, and loudly, because in all seriousness I have had it with this truth hiding under everyone's noses and nobody saying it.  

Nobody (that I've heard**) says "that's forced pregnancy" when a state limits or outlaws abortion, or when a major religion flexes its political muscle to keep women from having access to birth control.  

Nobody talks openly about what a nightmarish concept forced pregnancy IS and how unforgivable it is that our first-world society is still doing it and still acting like it's somehow OK.

But from now on, *I* will say so.  It probably won't make me popular.  I don't care.  Readers of my site, whom I love dearly and have no wish to piss off, are entirely free to skip the posts on this topic if they really don't want to hear about it.

But I hope they won't.  Because it's true, and it's important.

No peace without justice, and no justice without truth.

Thank you.

 

*I'll use phrases like not-women (instead of just saying "men") now and again, and though it may seem silly to you at first, please bear with me; I have a reason.  The relevant polarization in issues like this is between those who are sexist (who believe that women should be subjugated as part of how the human race works) and those who are not.  We live in a sexist world, where over 90% of all possible societies we could grow up in are sexist and have been sexist for as many generations back as we could count.  Therefore, due to upbringing, tradition, and culture, many women are sexist.  (I used to be, so I know this firsthand.)  Also, of course, just to complicate things, there are men in the world who are not sexist (just like there are white people who are not racist; just because you benefit from oppression doesn't necessarily mean you're in favor of it (though it does make it harder to understand why you shouldn't be, of course.)  Because of these factors, I hate referring to the conflict of sexism as one between "women" and "men", because it isn't.  It's between a large oppressed portion of the population, and their oppressors.  I don't think that the people fighting to end this centuries-long, globe-spanning oppression can really afford to lose the support of the men who are with them, or to ignore the damage done by the women who are not, by framing their battle as a "battle of the sexes".  It isn't a battle between the sexes.  It's a battle against discrimination and really horrible treatment based on sex, and what side you're on depends on what you believe and how you act, not what's in your pants.  So I apologize if my language-bending to keep that point clear gets annoying to anyone.

**It feels important to say right in this first piece that I'm not any kind of scholar or expert on women's studies — quite the opposite, in fact, as I have a degree in Super Logical Western Analytical Dead White Guy Philosophy.  So when I say things like "Nobody's saying this!", I'm referring to society and the media, at large and how I encounter them, with my only-slightly-deeper-than-average penetration into things International, fringe, feminist and forward-thinking.  It's extremely likely that people working in the trenches and typewriters of the sexist battle have been crying "forced pregnancy" for years or decades or even longer — and as part of my pledge to start crying it where I see it too, I'll be doing more reading on that as well.  But please don't take my enjoinders on the society I live in to be commentary on the body of work produced by feminism, women's studies, or trench-fighting anti-sexists, because I've had very little (more in recent years, but still relatively skimpy) contact with those groups and their writings.  This project is something I came to myself, gradually, and decided recently was something I had to do and say, regardless of what else others have done (because obviously more needs to be done, and having recognized that and recognized that I'm probably a capable person to pitch in, I feel that I have to).  

About puredoxyk

Word addict, kungfu/taiji nut and lifelong autohacker ... long-term Ubersleep, shoeless winters, medication-free anti-depressants, and as many hobbies as the world will let me pry into its piddly fourth dimension (it helps to have knocked out the fourth wall).
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9 Responses to No More Forced Pregnancies

  1. I am so proud to know you!

  2. Dayna Addison says:

    Hey had to post to my facebook.. great blog!!! and awareness!!

  3. Chad K. Park says:

    Awesome post!  Eye-opening for me.  I hadn't realized what the big push was on the birth control debate.  I always assumed that it was another 'wedge' issue designed to make us split the vote.  Would you mind if I posted the link to this to my blog and facebook page?

    • puredoxyk says:

      Thanks, Chad! And of course I don’t mind — Link away. ;) Hopefully I’ll have some more content up on this topic this weekend.

  4. Shandra says:

    http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/27/10519793-another-batch-of-birth-control-pills-recalled
    There are also quality control issues, and no one has taken a serious look at whether or not Splenda, among other suspect substances, may or may not block the effectiveness of the pill.

  5. Shandra says:

    I'd like to see a post dispelling the myths about IUDs.  
    Fact: a copper coil IUD costs $20.
    Fact: a copper coil IUD lasts safely and effectively in situ for up to 15 years
    Fact: the copper ions released by the metal act as an internally worn spermicide.  This is the mechanism of action.  It does not cause abortions.  It kills sperm.
    Fact: it is impossible to misuse or otherwise screw up the use of an IUD since it requires no remembering to take a pill, or to put it on, or in, or negotiate it's use beforehand.
    Fact: men have been known to sabotage birth control to manipulate women.  This is impossible to sabotage.

    • puredoxyk says:

      Thanks, Shandra — I absolutely intend to do such a post, especially since I had a copper IUD myself for seven years and loved it. The attacks on it are not only clearly coming from the forced-pregnancy camp, but I think they’re flawed in other ways too. Thanks for the comment!

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