Thursday, January 26, 2006


This is going to be a think piece. A bit late for the 2006 election cycle, but certainly food for thought for the 2008 cycle.

This is not directed at the Democratic Party: rather, it's directed at the women's movement.

I think the time has come to organize a bit better, frankly. The overriding issue the media is covering in terms of the struggle for gender equality is the battlefield of abortion. In short, to be for women's right means primarily to be for the right to choose.

Now, I am a man, but I like to think that in my progressive outlook and attention to the news, and if I have that opinion, certainly that opinion can't be isolated.

Which is a shame, because the women's movement ought to be about a lot of other things, as well. Think about it for a moment, and you'll see what I mean.

Pensions? Women's issue. Women tend to outlive men, and pension benefits tend to devolve to the next of kin when the pensioneer dies.

Unemployment? Women's issue. Women tend to work jobs that are outsourced more quickly than men, further, women's white collar jobs get lost when companies merge.

War. Women's issue. Men go off to fight war, primarily, which means women have to pick up the slack at home. The prime example of this is World War II and Rosie the Riveter, of course (nevermind what happened to her after the war was over), but it's been true of every war ever fought, before and since.

Inflation? Women's issue. Who usually ends up balancing the budget at home while Dad (if he's even around!) sits on the sofa watching the great American game of homosexual tag, football?

The environment? Women's issue. Women tend to drive the car more frequently, for one thing, but they also tend to be more concerned about the environment. I'm not sure if it's a maternal instinct that drives this, or even just the fact that so many of them are the primary caregivers for the least among us (children and the elderly), but a high proportion of environmentally-aware people I know are women, and I don't think I'm an exception here.

A side note: ironically, women also tend to use SUVs heavily, for family safety. While this may seem antithetical to the ecologic movement, it's a matter of self-defense: people in cars die when hit by a pick-up truck or SUV in a collision, and since so many men felt some pathetically penile need to drive a "rig" (while listening to that great American homosexual game of tag on the radio, no doubt), it was practically mandatory that women start driving them as well.

And yes, abortion. The fundamental right of a woman to decide whether to bring a child in the world at any given moment. There cannot be a more essential woman's issue than that.

"Pro-choice." That term sounds like a panicked response to the wrong-wing smear spin machine term, pro-life. So maybe the time has come to stop calling "us" (rather than them, since I consider myself a feminist, although I'm sure I will be emailed a laundry list of my sins against women) pro-choice. Maybe the time has come to link all these issues and the wealth of others under one umbrella. Stop making abortion the topic of distraction and discussion, and make the overall rights of women in a society where they are diminished because they don't have a penis the arching theme of the movement. I know it's been tried, but it's been neatly derailed by the other side, and abortion has been the fallback code word, and even that now is under attack, no longer safe from dismantlement.

Let's start calling us, pro-woman. Maybe then we can start to work the right-wing propaganda machine the way it ought to be manhandled.

Pun intended.

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