This is my body,
there are many like it,
but this one is mine.
First, let me say that by current reigning definitions of ‘feminism’, I’m not one. Mostly because, for fear of getting stuck in history, feminist theory often demands that its adherents pretend that it didn’t happen. That, somehow, we should all stop being silly and purge ourselves of all the linguistic, social and psychological overhang as if it were as easy as flicking a switch. Yet we, both men and women, are burdened with deep rooted models of identity. I’m not saying they are good, or healthy or productive models. For the most part, they’re not. But we have them and the expectation that we should drop them at once is, in my mind, the psychological equivalent of shipping some poor grunt out of the jungle and into the library of congress in the space of five minutes. You’re bound to end up with a high rate of PTSD.
Still, there are certain things – fundamental things – that I think do require our agreement to move forward, and not look back, like Lot’s wife, lest we turn to a pillar of salt. A woman’s legal dominion over her own body is one of them.
For me this goes past politics, and given the choice of any two political ideologies, I would always choose the one that granted me absolute rights over my own flesh first, regardless of ideas about taxation, education, religion, anything else.
Because without absolute legal dominion over my body, nothing else matters.
I understand that it is not a totally black and white issue. There are cases in which I am ambivalent. What if I want to end my life by involving someone else in my demise? That is certainly an issue. What if what I do with my body harms others? If I were HIV positive and kept irresponsibly having unsafe sex with multiple partners? And there are others.
On these issues, I am willing to listen to argument, to compromise.
But not when it concerns my womb. Whether it contains life or not. Zygote, fetus, whatever. If it can’t survive outside my body, I get final say in whether it stays or goes. No one else. Just me.
I don’t understand why a huge percentage of women are willing to compromise on this issue to obtain lower taxes or a smaller government or prayer in schools. I just don’t understand it.
Moreover, I can’t begin to imagine the outrage that would ensue if someone proposed to legislate the bodily functions of men. If someone tried to legislate against masturbation, because it was wasting potential life… Or if someone could implant a tapeworm into you, and you weren’t allowed to be rid of it for 9 months. Or take away one of your kidneys because someone else needs it and in refusing to give them yours, you’re killing them?
Either my body belongs to me, or it belongs to the state. If my body belongs to the state, then so will your wife’s body, and your daughter’s body, your mother’s.
Why do so few men take this issue personally? Because they don’t have wombs? But today it’s a womb, and tomorrow it might be something else. Something that men have that someone has decided they can’t be trusted to make rational decisions about.
Oh, you say…I’m being far fetched! But 20 years ago, none of us imagined we’d ever have to have to have this fight again. Never.
And look at us now.