A question posed in a Facebook group I’m a member of this weekend:
What demands do you have? What actions or legislation should be off limits? What constitutes being United Against the War on Women? Which women are allowed the freedom to control their own bodies?
A caveat: I’m not in love with the “war on women” rhetoric. I use it on occasion because, depending on my audience, I find it useful. (Which is probably just a function of me being too lazy to find another way to frame it neatly. And I should stop doing that.) But I also find it limiting. This war isn’t just about women. It has great consequence for people who don’t fall neatly into one of the gender binary options that exist, and it’s about families. And it’s easier if you just go read what Spectraspeaks has to say about unity.
I spent the night thinking about this question. It’s a GOOD question. It’s a question that seems like it should have an obvious answer, but when you drill down, and start to think about how to answer it…there’s a lot that rises up.
From where I sit, in my cisgender, hetero-partnered, middle class white woman chair, this is what I demand*:
- I demand that the stupid fucking M/F checkbox be erased from every form that gets filled out – ESPECIALLY in health care (what if you don’t fit neatly into one of those boxes? Already you’re someplace that DOES NOT WELCOME YOU).
- I demand to stop being asked if I’m married (another favorite form question) because that NECESSARILY ignores anyone who is PREVENTED FROM BEING MARRIED, or chooses to participate in any other permutation of non-legally recognized, consensual relationship.
- I demand that everyone to be able to access reproductive services at no cost to themselves. Yes, I believe the government should PAY FOR BIRTH CONTROL, and yes, ABORTION. My child has been an amazing addition to my life, but that’s not the case for everyone. People should NEVER be forced to birth a child because they didn’t have any other option. CHILDREN ARE NOT A PUNISHMENT.
- I demand that the 85% of counties in Virginia that don’t have abortion providers get them. Do they have primary care doctors in those counties? Okay, they NEED to provide abortions too. (I know that rural parts of the country struggle to have consistent primary care providers – let’s work on that, too.)
- I demand, safe, legal, accessible, affordable, subsidized abortion on demand for whoever needs or wants it for whatever reason. (I took this directly from my amazing friend scATX. She breaks it down on her blog.)
- I demand that all people be free to exercise domain and consent over their own bodies without government intrusion.
- I demand that people be free from forcible bodily intrusion under the guise of necessary medical care. (I’m looking at YOU Governor Perry.) (Doonesbury gives it to you in comic form.)
- I demand accessible prenatal care (doctors that work nights and weekends would go a LONG way to making health care accessible. Ever tried to schedule a doctors appointment with an obstetrician who runs late on your 30 minute lunch break?)
- I demand paid parental leave. Yes, PAID PARENTAL LEAVE. It’s valuable for everyone.
- I demand that companies recognize that people can be dedicated to their jobs AND their parenting.
- I demand no-cost, safe, and convenient daycare. If there are 2 subsidized daycares in a town of 50k people that spans miles, that’s not enough. And I don’t want subsidized anyway. I want it paid for by the state.
- I demand 24 hr daycare. The common 7:30am – 6pm daycare schedule is useless if you work nights, or work noon- 8pm, or start work at 6am, or don’t get off until 7pm. Employment is a 24 game these days – daycare needs to catch up.
- I demand that non-wage earning parents be paid. They are penalized once for taking care of children and having no earnings, and they are penalized again for not contributing to their credit rating, and their social security credits.
- I demand it be recognized that some people don’t want children AND THAT’S OKAY.
Start legislating HELP instead of looking for ways to hurt. Ask, “How can we help?” before jumping in. LISTEN. Give people the opportunity to tell you what they want. Stop talking about what YOU THINK they want.
What do YOU demand?
*When I wrote this everywhere you read the word ‘demand’ I originally used ‘want.’ And then as I was proofing it, I realized that I was asking. And I wasn’t answering the question. The question asked why my demands were, not what my wants were. Language is everything.