The most audacious of taboo conversations – time to tackle what’s a really big deal evolving through our political and social arena before it’s too late.
Ok, I know, I’ve been quiet for a while. Most unlike me, I know. But the thing is, when I look back on the last 12 months, and re-read my previous post from a year ago today, I am struck by the fact that being in observer mode has actually been a good thing. I’ve not dived into every frustrating aspect of the Global Pandemic, nor have I felt compelled to rage against the travel bans, quarantining, border closures or any of what’s happening in the ‘New and updated USA’ political arena.
That is until now.
The news, of which I probably read too much of lately, is quick to post things that are of a contentious nature, and I’ve noticed, just as quick to suddenly remove something and bury it deeply. Just last weekend I was strolling through my news app and came across a headline suggesting women are in the fight of our lives. Intrigued I clicked on it, then my burger, fries, and soda water was delivered to my table, so I put it aside for a few hours. I went back to read the story a little later that day and it had vanished.
I spent an hour or two on Sunday morning trying to find the story, but finally after much searching, found some similar ones, that finally revealed what had lead to the main one that had caught my eye the day before.
Why are we fighting for our lives? I was by now intensely curious and wanted to know more. Shocked, the answers came on the back of several articles, but none of these were being screamed from the trending stories list or headlines. Instead, they were quietly tucked away like a relative who can’t mind their manners when your In-laws arrive for dinner.
What really caused me to sit up straight, then stride indignantly into the living room and start ranting to my partner, was not only the information I was reading, but the realisation that this is in fact being quietly and insidiously downplayed across the media. Why?
Well let’s start with what the news is all about – women’s rights. Ok – we’ve been harping on about these for decades now. More pay, equality, sexual domination in and out of the bedroom – you name it, we’ve asked for it and in many instances, we got what we asked for. Including the rights to wear yoga pants in public as standard attire to restaurants and cafes, regardless of whether we did yoga or any other form of exercise that day. If we want to show off our bodies – regardless of size, age, or shape, we can apparently do so. Men on the other hand have not yet won the right to wear ballet tights or budgee smugglers in public… just sayin!
What’s deeply disturbing to me about the latest stories – aside from their not being shouted from the rooftops or inciting marching events through cities – are the threats to our hard won identity as women.
You may or may not have heard about the bills going through parliament in the UK and similarly in Australia, that use words like ‘human milk’ ‘chest feeding’ and ‘the parent who gave birth’ instead of breast milk, breast feeding, and mother. You may not be aware that these are intended to not upset transgender people who despite deciding in every other way to be classified as men, are still able to put their reproductive body parts to use and make and grow babies. You may not be aware that our centuries old status as women, is being reduced to classifications based on whether or not we menstruate or have vulvas.
I am a woman, who gave birth to two healthy baby boys, both of whom I breast fed, and who called me mum, mother, or Mumma (That last one was usually accompanied by a cheeky grin when asking for a favour.) I have a vulva, no longer menstruate due to having reached that delicious age of entering my third act as a menopausal wise woman. Yes, I am a heterosexual white woman in my mid fifties, with friends across the LGBGTi lists, some of them are very close friends too. I have no issue with what anyone wants to do with their bodies, be it tattoos, piercings (although ear loops make me feel a little nauseated to be honest), or how people choose to clothe themselves, or not. Sexuality is something I believe every man, woman, child has a right to understand, be educated about, and to enjoy consensually – even before some states and countries specify is the ‘correct’ age to be doing so. Having lost my own virginity as an underage teenager, who am I to state that anyone is more or less grown up enough to ‘do the deed’ a month before their 16th, 17th, or 18th birthday. Being on a sex offender’s register for consensual sex with a person who the law says is ‘still a smidgin under the legal limit’ is in my personal view a worthless and victimless crime. But that’s another issue for another day. And no, I’n not in any way manner or form condoning pedophilia – just to be clear!
What I’m monstrously frustrated about by this latest series of laws being passed through various idiot parliamentary readings is that we as women, are not being encouraged to fight for our rights to retain our status. To be assured of our hard won rights as women, to be applauded for who we are. I have no desire to be a crone, sage, wisewoman who is in accordance with new rules of gender balanced language, simply to be known as a grey haired old person who once menstruated.
I do not subscribe to the concept of having to identify myself to anyone anywhere as a cis-person, or any of the other 30 or so ways I may choose to be classified sexually or based on my inherited or adopted anatomy.
In this age where anytime someone speaks out about their feelings on this issue, we are opening up to being trolled, even death threats, and hung out to dry by hungry witch hunters for supposedly being anti-trans or homophobic. I am well aware that my writing all this will potentially immediately put me in line of fire as a misinformed middle aged white woman who has no understanding or compassion for modern thinking around any form of feminism. #istandwithjkrowling is a hashtag I’ve used on articles in the past, and have followed with interest just how much of an abuse of power and privilege so many people have brought to their orchestrated witch hunt over her raising some of these points I’m mentioning today. Seriously – next thing we’ll be called into question for whether we call horses mares or stallions, or something ‘entirely more appropriate’?!
Enough is enough. Do we really want to wake up in another 20 years and find we’re all classified by number, stripped of our rights to be called grandma, mum, mom, Ms, after we and our mothers before us had to fight so damned hard to make the term woman synonymous with smart, capable, determined, and freaking awesome!