The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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the segue into reproductive rights is not subtle here. it's been a long month for me
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
After many grueling years, I have (somewhat) narrowed down the time period in which my period will strike (sometime within a twenty-eight day period, more precision is needed, but this is progress, I promise you), but on rare occasions, I actually realize, with dawning shock, that this thing that has occurred monthly for over half my life (minus one year for Child) is indeed on the horizon, and I add it to the list of random-ass observations about Myself and My Body I'll forget about until next month.

(To be fair, my thyroid for the last few years did a serious number on me when I'd tentatively nailed down that my abrupt interest in Breakfasts #2 and Lunch #3 and sleeping like an Olympic sport as indicators; when I now get a I Must Eat Until Something Breaks and Rip Van Winkle My Life Away, I call my doctor and get a medication adjustment, so you see how this isn't my fault. Sure, that's only in the last five years, but go with it.)

I am suddenly, for no particular reason, terribly, terribly attracted to genderswitch. Like, I am completely uninterested in what fandom; I just want that label. And I'm going to be blunt and say it's not the exploration of the complexities of sexuality and gender and privilege; even if the storyline never explores it at all, somewhere in my mind is a soft, quiet satisfaction that these characters will have a moment while buying tampons thinking that taking the entire store hostage for some goddamn Ben and Jerry's is a legitimate life choice. Hell, just taking the store hostage sounds like a pretty good idea.

Recognizing that the cliche of PMS for women is a cliche and perpetrates harmful stereotypes about women is there, I know that; I also know living it changes my perspective on this phenomenon dramatically. Example, one may or may not be standing in the freezer section realizing in dawning horror that they are out of chocolate covered cherry ice cream and torn between tears and assembling an army; I am not saying this has happened to me, but so far, HEB has not run out of chocolate cherry covered ice cream either. I cannot promise that I wouldn't start an Occupy: HEB splinter group that will lead a bloody revolution down the frozen food aisle. I may outfit everyone in Vendetta masks, like Anonymous and Occupy got very drunk and had some seriously unprotected sex by the frozen vegetables (where else?) and the monstrous offspring grew to maturity reading feminist literature authored by Vlad the Impaler's sister who paid attention to his penis issues and didn't like it (work with me here).

A friend sent me an email about PMS being added to the DSM V, which I was thinking about in theory until, you know, today and it hit me that I will not, in real life, admit to PMS to save my soul, even though I totally acknowledge it exists for other women. Admitting the cliche isn't entirely false sets up the really strange dichotomy of perpetrating a harmful stereotype (and boy, I have actually read blogs that made me feel guilty about the ice cream, fuckers) while also betraying the entire my body does these things and that's okay. Far easier not even to address it at all than be torn between worrying what I'm doing for all women by admitting homicidal urges (crazy bitch) and worrying I'm like, denying a legit medical condition that I have literally minimal control over other than embrace ibuprofen and time when I will write the scenes that involve blowing up shit to intersect (fantastic stuff).

Combining this with all the nightmares occurring right now with women's health rights, it hits me all over again that every woman is a living, breathing ambassador for her gender/sex, all the time, with every breath they take. I was horribly, bitterly upset with legislation women's rights as introduced by women in a way I'm just not when men do it, because my expectations of men that I did not personally give birth to (read: one) is something less than sea-level. This is because I continue to look at this as just a feminist issue, and I think I need to remember intersectionality because the women who introduced this legislation and most of those who perpetrate it will never be affected by it. And it just hits me all anew how much of this is perpetrated specifically on women to make sex itself an economic issue.

To put it another way; in some states, they are trying to pass the my religion require me to check the state of your vagina and fuck HIPAA, prove your birth control is about anything but preventing pregnancy. Looking at the FPIL (Federal Poverty Income Limit) and doing some quick math assuming basic hormonal birth control, a family needs--very, very roughly--2 to 3 times FPIL to (probably) afford it (I am leaving out so much here it's not even funny, but I'm using my state's median average income and the income limits for Medicaid and Food Stamps to work out a rough equation on how this would work). I don't think any legislation worries about middle to upper class women, who seem to surprisingly not have a child a year; women in middle to upper class also don't have the same problems getting an abortion.

To clarify this, no man or woman who has the power to introduce this legislation will be affected by it. Even a little. Minimum income for legislators is usually well within the buy as you go zone, and I bet you don't know this, but after reading the bill, I don't think it applies to the health care of the actual legislators, which just shocks me beyond words.

Again, all this legislation is about women's reproductive health, which is sexism, no question, but there's this weird current that keeps making me wonder if there's an actual, if unspoken, idea that sex should be--I have no idea how to put this--a reward for personal economic prosperity. Like, you have to work to afford food, shelter, clothes, and the idea that there's an entire facet of the human experience that you can do for funtimes without attaching some kind of tax to it is just wrong. Rush Limbaugh's queries for Sandra Fluke to webcam her sex life was beyond words creepy-creeper sexist, but for me, reading through the transcripts and staring blankly at the destruction of WHP, of Arizona's birth control nightmare, of everything to do with the attack on reproductive rights and I wondered why a party that lip services religion would want, in any way, to institutionalize de facto prostitution, that sex, like shelter, food, clothing, should be something that you have to, in a capitalist society, meet a minimum income level to afford to have.

In related news, AZ Central Political Blog reports that HB 2625 (Jesus says I have a right to know about the state of your uterus) has been pulled from the Senate Rules agenda as of 12:40 AM today. Can anyone confirm I'm reading that as something that happened today?

ETA:

On a more personal note, this has been a very, very bad few months in my vocation, which possibly may have shown up here a few times; the shootings at HHSC local offices, the legislation, watching my former clients, my friends, my family, my community, the working class, single mothers, the poor, being fucked over.

My mother has been a lifelong moderate Republican. This week, she told me today, she changed her party affiliation at the demise of WHP. My mother has never voted for a Democrat in her life; this year, this election cycle, she is voting for Obama.

Last week, I told [personal profile] svmadelyn that I needed just one good thing to happen now; I didn't care what. Arizona tabled a birth control bill that violated human decency as well as women's rights; my mother, born and raised in an intensely conservative Christian household and married to an intensely conservative man, will vote Democrat in the fall.

So I got two.

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This whole thing in the US scares me very much, and I am so grateful to be in the UK, where, however clunky and unwieldy and horrendous our Health Service is, the Pill is free. Such a simple thing, and it is so utterly terrifying to have this utterly medieval misogynist fuckery going on.

It's that nasty mindset that comes with an utter fear of women, a loss of power, of some kind of control. Nobody has quite stepped up and slapped anyone in the face for being an uppity bitch who should be back in the kitchen, but it's there, behind all of this.

I don't know - is it economic? Raise a disposable workforce of the poor, uneducated and dispossessed? Keep women out of a shrinking job market and penned back in the home? Revert back to the days of dragging women off the streets to check for virginity/diseases? Heck, why not start up with state sanctioned lobotomies for those who aren't conforming? Happy mindless baby factories.

People are going to have sex. They should be educated about it, they should be given the tools to protect themselves, and if that means using a condom or chemical method, so be it. I personally loathe religion, and feel it should be separated from the state in all ways, be that education, legislation or medication. Every part of your body belongs to you, and nobody else.

This is where I get a little sketchy, because the more I read about the legislation, the more I notice that the arguments are sexist/racist/whatever-ist, the practical aspects are intensely--very intensely--capitalist. I mean, a presidential candidate actually advocates removing child labor laws and that poor kids should get jobs cleaning up the schools they attend, because God knows kids need to learn early how to be good servants for the wealthy and more stigma helps everyone.

And it's sexist, definitely, beyond words, but the Republican leadership before anything believe in the privileges of wealth. There is a reason that prosperity doctrine is an actual, legit belief system that takes "God helps those who help themselves" and interprets that as "Your poverty is because God noticed you are lazy, so obviously God hates you."

It's not simplistic, but here's an example of what I mean: a few years ago, the HPV vaccine was introduced. This is a vaccine that is to prevent a dangerous STD for women. The governor of my state, Perry, is intensely, intensely conservative with the entire religious thing going on, and within the party itself, this drug was considered a slut-pass for women.

(Perry signed away funding for poor women to get birth control and reproductive rights and he slashed the budget this year, btw. To give his perspective on his current actions.)

However, when the HPV vaccine was released, Perry immediately tried to pass a law requiring it for Texas girls. This is one of the articles exploring that. This is a conservative Republican who belongs to teh religious right, but he mandated this for girls because, dum dum dum, former aid was affiliated with the private company supplying it.

This is not unique, btw. This is something that Republicans do.

Feh, everything comes down to 'cui bono?' eventually, doesn't it? Most politicos, if they truly worship any god outside their mirror, it's Mammon. I remember your post on the school cleaning, part of what made me think of the whole Metropolis/Brave New World underclass thing.






Fuck me, this makes me want to weep. In the UK, the HPV vaccine is given to all teenage girls through their school, for free.

I'm lucky enough to have a pretty generous health insurance, and to work at a medical center in the US. So for me, the HPV vaccine was covered...so long as I paid the $30 co-pay per visit. For three visits, it was $90.

The thought of getting that for free is mind-boggling. I had to ask my doctor at yearly check-up about it, how to go about getting it, etc.

If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

Early on I had PMS that bordered on hysterical pregnancy, then it mellowed out, then in my 20's my friend pointed out that I became engulfed in existential despair every month around the same time and she suggested perhaps it was my cycle.

I had no idea that it CHANGED! That my period would feel different in accordance with different stages of maturity! It blew my 23 year old mind. I was totally pissed that there could still be things about my vagina I knew nothing about.

Then again, when I was 18 one day I was convinced I had cancer in there and my boyfriend had to come over and tell me what I was feeling was just my cervix. Thank god he brought along his copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves and gave it to me as a gift.

If you have a smartphone, I recommend the app My Days. I always forget my period, but after tracking it for a couple months, this thing has me to within a day.

Oooh, thank you for that rec. When I got the original iphone, many of the cycle tracking apps I found were based on calendar rhythm instead of NFP/FAM so I wasn’t aware that there is now one based on FAM.

That said, if (general, plural) you know FAM—if you don’t, just get any book by Toni Weschler—women have been doing the same thing for decades with pen and paper before spreadsheets.

IDK exactly how it does it, but I just put in my period start & end each month, and after a few, its guesses are right (this month was the first it got it on the nose. It also does ovulation & you can put in notes. I have android but I'm sure something exists for iPhone. Happy bleeding!

I'm going to be at a reproductive justice conference all day tomorrow (specifically dealing with how it intersects with race in Louisiana) talking about a lot of these same things; we (my organization) is hosting it with a coalition of other orgs so that we can try to get ahead of this shit. some days it feels like standing in front of a freight train.

Yeah, my dad, born in 1926, voted for a Democrat the first and last time in his life after two years of Bush. I think four years of the Tea Party and attacks on women would have had him registering with the Democratic party.

The story about your mother actually made me cry. If any good can come out of the shit storm that has been the past few months, I hope that it's women (and men) like your mother who finally start to see what's going on and decide to vote Democratic.

I'm hoping that both of my parents, and my step-parents, will have the same change of heart. I'm more hopeful about my mother than any of the rest, but I'm still not sure.


PMS, or as I call it PBS "psycho bitch syndrome". I didn't get the bloating & cramps that a lot of women get but for about 3-4 days before my period would start everything, and I mean EVERY little thing, would piss me off.

It was like a switch got flipped. One day something would happen that I'd just ignore as no big deal & the next the same exact thing would have me have me snapping and snarling at everyone.

And the real kicker was a *knew* I was being irrational. There'd be a little 'me' standing in the back of my mind watching myself going completely mental but I couldn't do anything stop it. Hot flashes aside, thank god for menopause.


I'm not gonna get started the republicans though, I'll just give myself a heahache.