Just when things appeared not to be able to get worse for women in the USA, there are candidates appearing on the hustings of their mid-term elections who are demanding the abolition of contraception for women. It is already happening, as the Washington Post reports:
Advancing this Republican agenda to subjugate women includes limiting easy and affordable access to contraceptives. In six red states, pharmacists can legally refuse to fill somebody’s prescriptions — including emergency contraceptives — based on moral or religious objections.
That’s not the case in Tennessee, which has more general medical refusal protections, but Walgreen customers are claiming that they are being denied the ability to purchase birth control and condoms. CVS has a similar policy to Walgreens which allows pharmacists to deny the sale of birth control products.
So women are now expected to lie back and think of a happy place and allow men to sew their seed as they wish. Never a sperm wasted!
It is so ludicrous it is funny, but not so funny for those who cannot get access to contraception. The Southern states of the USA have become increasingly under the influence of a fundamentalism that wishes to take the country back in history one, two, three or more generations.
Of particular interest is the 1776-ers. These people believe that nirvana lay in the period in which the Declaration of Independence was signed, declaring independence of 13 States for Great Britain. And the driving force of that movement was, of course, race and the resistance of the States to the end of slavery (which, as a result, staggered on for another 90 years).
The yearning is for a reinstatement of the hierarchies of the period. White men were in charge of all institutions and women, people of colour and others were subject to their rule and rules.
The view has grown and grown in the United States that such a society is an ideal society. Honestly, I find this extraordinary. Even if I were a man, I cannot imagine the immense dullness of a blanketing masculinity.
And were men even happier? I don’t think so. Honestly, the first white men into Aotearoa were so bored and homesick they took their refuge in the drinking, carousing and sex of the ‘hellhole of the Pacific’, as our first capital, Russell, used to be known. I doubt if they had fun. It was a miserable existence, probably punctuated by homesickness, missing family and the uncertainties of being in a new place.
Marriages, too, must have been hell when determined by the maxim that women were to be subject to their men’s pronouncements. My favourite description of bad marriages is, of course, James K Baxter’s line from the 1950s in the epic poem Calgary Street: “two birds that pecked in one fouled nest”. Indeed.
We know now that marriages of equality and good communication are the best. In the workplace, mutual respect and teamwork are best. Leadership needs to be be generous, wise and knowledgeable.
The role of women in society is under threat from all over, including in New Zealand. Women who poke their heads up over the parapet get attacked all the time. Siouxsie Wiles wrote about it again only last week. It is now ‘situation normal’. It is disgraceful. It is sad.
I don’t think that most men want the clock to be turned back in such ways as these. Those that do, should know that we will not lay back and accept your seed as if we are in an episode of the Handmaid’s Tale. That is fiction!
I am sure I will have more to write about this!