March 19th, 2012

children of dune - leto 1

the segue into reproductive rights is not subtle here. it's been a long month for me

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?


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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