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What it’s Like to be a Woman in America in 2012

I’m out voting this morning. In lieu of a new column and in honor of election day, here is a re-post of the popular essay I wrote in August, “What it’s Like to be a Woman in American in 2012.” Here’s hoping women’s rights aren’t set back 50 years today…

This week, the buzz is about the inane, ignorant and hurtful comments made by Rep. Todd Akin (R) from my home state of Missouri in a televised interview that aired in St. Louis on Sunday. When asked if he supported abortion in the case of rape, Akin, who is running for Senator, said:

“From what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”

Many bloggers, journalists and concerned citizens have already written eloquent and passionate reactions to Akin’s comment, so I want to focus instead on what it’s like to be a woman in America in 2012 — a woman in a country where politicians who actually believe that the female body has special powers to discern between evil sperm and loving sperm have been elected to create and vote on legislation that limits women’s control over their own health care.

It’s 2012 and I live in one of the most powerful and economically abundant countries in the world, where I’m scared to walk alone at night. When I pass a group of men on the street, I avert my eyes, hoping they won’t comment on the size of my breasts or the shape of my ass or the way my body moves when I walk. If it’s just one man, I don’t worry as much. But in groups, they find power in numbers, and I wonder if today will be the day they take the comments one step further and follow me down the street, or worse, follow me home.

I live in New York and one might ask what I expect living in one of the largest cities in the world. But I used to live in a medium-sized city in Missouri, the state that Todd Akin represents, and it happened to me there, too. If fact, my apartment was broken into one night and the only thing that was stolen, besides my jar of change, was my underwear. I had spent the night at my boyfriend’s place and I don’t want to think about what might have happened — legitimately happened — had I been home instead. Someone else close to me lived in a town nearby — a small, quiet, unassuming town in Missouri — and was mugged at gunpoint. Crime against women happens everywhere, and an estimated 32,000 times a year it results in pregnancy.

I have a baby now — the result of a loving relationship between my husband and me — and still I worry about crime when I walk down the street in the middle of the day. The men don’t leave me alone now just because I’m a mother and my son is with me. They call me, “Mama,” and “Lookin’ good, Mama,” and “I like the way you push that stroller.” My husband has asked that when I come home late at night from an evening out with my friends — a rarity these days, but it does happen — that I call him to pick me up if I have no one to walk me home. I’m almost 36 years old — a wife and a mother and a professional — and I need a chaperone because some crazy douchebags think my body is public property. Hmm, I wonder wherever in the world they got that idea.

I didn’t get any paid maternity leave when my baby was born. I work for myself, so I wasn’t expecting any, of course. But here in America, even if I had been working for someone else, that person or that company would not have been required by law to give me even a day of paid maternity leave. Not even an hour. My job would have been held for a few weeks, but that’s it.

I started a new moms’ group when I was pregnant and most of us all had babies within a few weeks of each other. Some of the women took extended maternity leave — six whole months — so they could stay home with their babies until they started, you know, sleeping for more than three hours at a stretch. They weren’t paid for that leave, and they worried as their savings dwindled what they’d do if there were an emergency and they missed more work.

When they did go back, they had to deal not only with juggling motherhood and their careers, but also with navigating the office politics surrounding working mothers. One woman, a producer at a major network news station, worried about being overlooked for assignments that would require her to travel now that she was a single mother of an infant. She worried about being overlooked for promotions and raises now that her “focus was split.” “I don’t want to be mommy-tracked,” she lamented, as she plotted ways to ensure topnotch child care for her daughter should her commitment to work be “tested” with a last-minute assignment that would take her out of town with just hours to prepare.

Many of my new mom friends who returned to work months after giving birth continued breastfeeding, which brought the new challenge of pumping at the office (or, “in the field,” in the case of my producer and journalist friends). They told me stories about the “designated areas” for them to pump, which are required by law. One woman, a clinical psychologist, pumped in a supply closet with a broken lock on the door. She kept one hand on her pump and one hand holding the door shut in case anyone wondered why the light was on and barged in on her without knocking. Finally, she put a sign on the door, but it was gone the next day and she had to make a new one. That one came down the next day, too.

One woman in my group, the first to travel without her baby, told us about going through security at the airport with bottled breast milk that she had pumped earlier that day. The TSA agent wanted proof the milk came from her breast and asked her to take her pump to the bathroom and pump a fresh bottle. Exhausted, emotional, and embarrassed, she didn’t fight back. She took her pump to the bathroom and stood in a filthy stall and pumped. And cried.

Some women, like me, decide, for various reasons, not to breastfeed. Things aren’t necessarily easier for us. People who want to distract us from the issues of real concern — our basic rights and protection — have created, through tabloid-like “news” stories and sensational magazine covers, something called the “Mommy Wars” and now we’re all so fucking defensive about our own personal choices that we’re spending too much energy trying to justify why we do the things that make sense for us and our families, like feed our babies formula or work in an office or stay home or try to have babies in our 40s or raise kids without a partner. We’re spending too much energy defending ourselves against each other, and not enough energy fighting together for better rights … or fighting to keep the basic rights — like making our own health care choices — that members of the GOP would like to strip us of. Which is exactly what they want, of course.

One of my Facebook friends posted a quote from President Obama the other day: “When it comes to a woman’s right to make her own health care choices, [members of the GOP] want to take us back to the policies more suited to 1950s than the 21st century.” One of her Facebook friends, a woman I don’t know and have never heard of, commented: “Perhaps remove the focus from that one point and think instead about the free abortions and contraceptives that will be given to all females of reproductive age… Or about the Muslims, Christian scientists, and Amish ( among others) that are exempt from obamacare due to religious beliefs….”

She goes on and on, hitting every talking point FoxNews and its ilk have drummed into her head, including the legitimacy (there’s that word again) of Obama’s citizenship and his ties to socialism. It was all a bunch of moronic nonsense, but what stood out to me the most was her first line: “Perhaps remove the focus from that one point” — that “one point” being a woman’s right to control her own health care choice, as if that point weren’t worthy of our focus!! This was a woman saying this! A woman who was fed the bullshit and ate it up with a spoon, just like the GOP wanted.

Women in American in 2012: let’s quit fighting each other, and FIGHT BACK. Enough with the mommy wars and the sensational news stories and all that other crazy bullshit that distracts us from the real issues of concern. Our rights are at risk — our basic rights — not to mention the fact that many of us are afraid, on a daily damn basis, of being attacked — legitimately attacked — simply because we are women.

This election year, vote to keep your rights. Vote for the people who are going to fight to protect you. And fight to keep the morons and the assholes and the douchebags out of power and out of our bodies.


Comments on this entry are closed.

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 21, 2012, 12:13 pm

Love this article, Wendy, and the points it makes are so true!

As an aside, regarding the issue with the TSA, simply ask to speak to a supervisor if this ever happens to you. I once had issues when traveling with my daughter and the amount of baby food we were carrying on, and then several times I had issues when traveling for work and bringing pumped milk home in a cooler. In every instance, I immediately asked to speak to a supervisor who was typically better versed on the rules. After the first time, I also printed out the TSA’s own rules, which are very clear: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/formula.shtm.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 12:16 pm

I’ll catch hell for this, but if you’re a new mom and instead of wanting to love, nurture and care for your new baby you worry about whether or not you’ll get passed over for some silly network puff piece that sends you out of town… well, maybe you shouldn’t have had the baby to begin with?

There are no shortage of people on the planet. If you don’t want to actually care for your kids — don’t have any. It’s really THAT simply. I say this to my gay friends looking to adopt as well. Somebody SHOULD stay home in those first formative years… Being around my young nephew has only confirmed this belief. Be it the father (Bravo! Stay at home dads!) or the mother… somebody should actually be there for the child.

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 12:22 pm

So, what I’m getting from this is that you shouldn’t have a child unless you are wealthy enough to have one parent stay home fulltime with the child? What?

Dear Wendy Wendy August 21, 2012, 12:25 pm

Apparently. And if you’re the parent who goes to work to support your family, heaven forbid you actually worry about things like equality in the work place and getting a fair shot at career advancement despite juggling demands at home that may interfere with your “focus.”

avatar temperance August 21, 2012, 11:16 pm

And what about those horrible ladies who even … WANT A CAREER AND A FAMILY? Stupid bitches, dare they want it all …. like most men do.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 12:31 pm

Honestly, one fucked up result of women winning the right to work is that is has suddenly gone from hard won right to virtual enslavement. Suddenly, EVERYBODY has to work. EVERYBODY. This is really pretty fucked up.

One income families used to be the rule… Blue Collar workers routinely used to buy houses all the time and chase the american dream and blah blah blah… Now almost nobody I know can do that. Not on one income! The state of this nation has NEVER been more fucked up than it is right now. And that is truly sad. It amazes me that nobody ever seems to talk about this…

Crochet.Ninja Michelle.Lea August 21, 2012, 12:39 pm

I honestly don’t know how people do it in today’s world. Looking back, I don’t know how my parents did it either! My dad made under $28k a year, and supported me and my mom (and sometimes my brother). My mom was a crazy wonderful bookkeeper, and we never went without, but I also know that we were in the low income ‘poor’ range, even if we didn’t feel poor. Not sure if that’s what the American dream was, but for us it was happy. Could that happen now? I don’t know. Society as a whole is different. It would take 2 very dedicated parents, resistant to greediness to be able to pull it off, no matter which one stayed at home.

And even feeling that it would be good if a parent stayed home, if I had a child, I don’t know if I could be a full time stay at home mom. I like to work. But I think if my husband stayed at home, I’d feel resentful (I know, double standard). And maybe I can’t say anything because I don’t have any kids, and don’t plan on having any of my own.

I also have issues with the whole ‘having it all’ thing that goes on. Doesn’t matter who you are, you’re probably not going to ‘have it all’. There have to be some sacrifices in life, and I honestly don’t feel anyone is ‘entitled’ to whatever they want just because they want it.

The whole issue is a fuzzy gray to me. There are no clear rights or wrongs, and it usually comes down to the individuals involved. I don’t think children are damaged by both parents working, but yea, I do think they could benefit from a parent being home with them, at least on a part time basis.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 12:42 pm

Part of the way they made it is that you used to be able to buy a house for under 28,000.

The problem with having it all is that it seems most wind up enjoying none of it.

Crochet.Ninja Michelle.Lea August 21, 2012, 12:51 pm

yea even now, the property (around 3 acres) plus the house that’s on it is worth under $20k. which sounds like a great deal, until you realize that the little town it’s near just doesn’t have a lot of high paying jobs. so you buy the ‘cheap’ property, but still struggle because the jobs and pay just arent there. bah.

but i think i’m wandering off the original subject!

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 12:56 pm

No, the fact that the only affordable housing is in areas where there isn’t any decent paying work is right on target, sadly.

avatar bethany August 21, 2012, 1:32 pm

Yeah, but you paid 14.99% interest, like my parents did on their 66K house in 1982.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:37 pm

Still, I don’t know anybody whose yearly salary could buy a house. (Obviously, you’re parents couldn’t either as they had living expenses… I mean, here in LA a basic house is like 600,000. I don’t know anybody who makes 600,000. Back back in say, 1975, and houses were 28K, many more people were making 28K. Hell, even if they were making only 14K, they’d have been doing great because I don’t know anybody who is making 300,000 or even 200,000.

Kate B. Kate B. August 21, 2012, 6:39 pm

My father loves to remind me that when they bought their house (in 1963) they paid $25K. Three bedrooms, two baths, front and back yards, two-car garage. Near the beach. They saved enough money to pay for two college educations. And my mom didn’t work for most of my kid-life. And they have a wonderful retirement. I could never, ever hope to achieve this.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 22, 2012, 12:47 pm

It’s so depressing — right? Yet NOBODY in politics EVER addresses this. Nobody…

avatar sypher798 August 28, 2012, 11:06 am

I just don’t see a solution. I think that’s probably why no one addresses it. Now that we’ve driven the prices up, it seems impossible to get them to come back down.

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 21, 2012, 1:15 pm

I think “having it all” is all in your mindset. I would say I come pretty darn close, but I’m sure others would be sorely disappointed with my life.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 12:49 pm

Actually though, I feel like our expectations have gotten bigger too. My grandparents raised thier kids on one truck driver’s salary. But they only had one car, lived in a small two bedroom house with one bathroom and never ate out. My mom got socks for christmas and didn’t have a TV for years. You can raise a family on one salary but is that better than having a fully funded retirement and being able to pay for your kids eduations.

Crochet.Ninja Michelle.Lea August 21, 2012, 12:56 pm

our expectations are much much bigger these days. i never expected to get more than a couple pairs of jeans, and maybe a few shirts every year for school. no name brands. i can remember one year the whole family chipped in to get my dad an expensive tool (cant remember, a saw or a drill) which was probably a couple hundred dollars back then. that was huge money to us. now? it would still sting, but i could drop that on something i wanted pretty easily. is that a good attitude? nope. but money doesnt mean the same things anymore. i know if i go spend $50 on a night out with the hubby, we’re not going to be without groceries, or run out of gas money. over christmas we drop probably $400 on christmas gifts for the 3 kids, and think we’re getting a deal.

i think as a whole, our priorities are f*d up.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 1:09 pm

To a certain extent yes but also no. I had a conversation with a friend who is going to give birth any day now. She said she would never let anyone else raise her kids and she couldn’t imagine a woman working. I know the feeling she is trying to convey but at the same point, she is framing the problem in a different way than I would. If you have a 2 income home, you can hopefully get to a better school with a better eduation, more enrichment programs and your kids could go to a better college, ect. Now, all that stuff might be “superficial” but if they are sitting there in a one income home and not making ends meet. Is that financial stress a better environment to grow up in? If that is the #1 reason for divorce?

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:27 pm

My point is that it’s sad that life is suddenly (in like one generation) so expensive that few can support a family on one income without tremendous stress… That’s truly fucked up.

And isn’t it interesting how crappy public schools suddenly are? You know, it didn’t used to be this way…

Skyblossom Skyblossom August 21, 2012, 1:49 pm

Our schools are suddenly being starved of funds. Part of it is a move to destroy unions and part of it is a move to force privatization. If state law requires busing but the state won’t fund the schools then schools can be forced to privatize busing. The reasoning seems to be that unions are nasty socialist organizations that destroy democracy and are full of freeloaders who don’t want to work but the effect of privatization is to take the money that would have gone to salary and benefits for the workers and take it as profit for the owners of the private busing company. Then you end up with even more people who have no retirement benefits and no health insurance and who make such a small income they can’t afford to support a family but at the same time they shouldn’t be allowed to use contraception to limit the size of the family that they are already trying to support.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 2:08 pm

True. Everything you say. Very true.

avatar painted_lady August 21, 2012, 6:13 pm


avatar Addie Pray August 21, 2012, 9:48 pm

Go Skyblossom!

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:15 pm

But what I am saying is that people can live on one income. if you live without a flat screen, microwave, cell phone, car. Houses are 25% bigger now which costs more to maintain.

avatar Clare August 21, 2012, 1:23 pm

I definitely think you’re right with this. When my mom and aunt were in high school, my grandma made all of their clothes except jeans and they didn’t have a ton of clothes because, honestly, they didn’t need a ton. When I was in high school, I always wanted to latest Abercrombie jeans or American Eagle sweater or something like that, just because my friends or the other kids had them. It seems like now, we are so often not satisfied with what we have or what we can truly afford that we feel like we “deserve” everything.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:32 pm

very true!

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 1:37 pm

At least some small part of it is changes in what’s socially acceptable, though. Looking back on how I grew up, for example, my parents had a small Buick that they would cram themselves and 5 kids into. Nowadays that’s illegal. They would need a minivan, which itself is more expensive, plus it takes more fuel. That right there would have killed their budget.

Another part of it is that people live further away from family than they used to. You didn’t need to pay for childcare when you had your family around you. Now, if you move to another city to get a job, you’re on your own and you have to pay for childcare.

Not that I’m disagreeing with the greediness aspect – that is there too. But there are other issues on top of just that.

Crochet.Ninja Michelle.Lea August 21, 2012, 2:20 pm

I totally agree. when i was a kid, i had aunts and uncles that lived less than 2 miles away. cousins lived next door. my brother still lives right next to my mom (for which i am thankful as i live very far from her so i know he watches over her) there was always someone to watch you if mom and dad had to go do something.

speaking of illegal car rides, anyone remember laying in the back window of a car while it was going?? or taking rides in the back of a pick up truck?

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 2:25 pm

I remember sitting in the trunk of a station wagon all the way (2+ hours) to the beach. Haha.

But seriously having family close by is a HUGE help when raising children and one of the only reasons my mom was such a sucessful working single mom.

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 4:12 pm

I ride in the back of trucks all the time. Just did it Sunday actually. I thought it was only illegal for children under 15 to do and then only if there wasn’t room for them inside the truck. Maybe that’s just redneck Tennessee though.

Kate B. Kate B. August 21, 2012, 6:46 pm

I remember zooming up and down Taylor St. in SF in the back of a station wagon – no selt belts. Good times.

avatar painted_lady August 21, 2012, 6:31 pm

Yeah. I mean, someone said somewhere else on this thread that “You can live without a cell phone, flat screen, car,” or something like that. But I most certainly can’t. I mean, I can live without my flat screen – I just bought my first one six months ago – but I honestly couldn’t have the job I do right now without my car and my cell phone. I live too far from work to walk there – especially during the summer and early fall, when I would be completely gross and sweaty and unacceptable for professional appearances. I can’t walk to the grocery store, I can’t buy clothes or school supplies for work because the stores are too far.

I also need my phone. I use it to keep in contact with parents – especially my theatre students’ parents, who have to pick up their kids from rehearsals and contests and the like – and I use it to get ahold of admin at the school if there’s an emergency. I would probably have the phone anyway, and no one has ever told me I’m required to have it, but there are some aspects of my job that I cannot imagine doing without it. Same goes for internet access and a working computer – a lot of emails came in over the summer that were really pertinent to the coming school year (my schedule, the subjects I’m teaching, what dates I was expected where) that I’d never have seen. If I hadn’t known these things, I’d probably be without a job.

avatar MsMisery August 21, 2012, 1:25 pm

Really, everybody? EVERYBODY? What age did you start working? If you actually completed school and didn’t start hard labor at a single-digit age, you can thank the unions.

And I am perfectly happy, as a woman, to be out in the workforce. What would my other option be? To stay at home and be the perpetual oven for some man’s babies? I’d rather kill myself.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:44 pm

By everybody — I meant both parents. I thought this was rather obvious. But as far as children being forced to work? Um, go do a little research about how many teenagers now work outside the home to help support their families.

There is a lot more to motherhood than being a “baby-oven”. That’s a sad view both on motherhood and on being a woman, in my opinion. Hey, if you want to work great. If you don’t want to have kids, great. Don’t. But don’t indirectly slam anybody who chooses to stay at home with their children as being nothing more than a baby oven. That’s pretty fucked up. The fact that anybody would even “like” that statement is sad to me. Profoundly so.

JK JK August 21, 2012, 1:47 pm

You said in your 2nd paragraph what I would have, if my anger didn´t render me incoherent.
And yes, I´m a professional who CHOOSES to stay home with my kids. And we´re all the happier for it.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 1:57 pm

yeah this just fuels the mommy wars. both sides have made a choice that is best for them. we shouldn’t call people on the other side names for it.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 2:10 pm

:) Happy to have your back, JK. That statement made my blood run cold.

JK JK August 21, 2012, 2:13 pm

That´s funny, it made MY blood boil! :)

Jessibel5 Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 2:41 pm

I was talking with another woman about the definition of feminism. We came to the conclusion that true feminism is doing whatever the fuck you want that’s best for you and who cares what anyone else thinks. This came about because I had mentioned to someone once that our goal (mine and my husband’s) is to eventually have me stay home with our young children when we have them. I was ripped apart for throwing away feminist ideals and how I was bending to the whims of men. Think again, person. We’re making a choice that we feel will be best for us…and I’m owning it and taking control of my fate by working towards that choice…is that not feminism?

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 2:52 pm

No. Feminism is a movement which pushes for equal rights for women. Feminists are people who fight for, or at least advocate for, those rights.

Feminism is not just a blanket term that says that women should be able to do whatever the fuck they want. What kind of a movement would that be?

If your goal is to stay home with your kids, then go ahead and do that. Make the choice that’s right for your family, by all means. But it has nothing to do with feminism.

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 2:56 pm

Actually feminism is a collection of movements and idealogies… not just one specific agreed upon thing. Hence equality can mean different things to different women and still “count” – though why we have to have that argument is beyond me. By all means lets continue to focus on labels while I had more rights as a 5 year old girl in 1981 then I do as an adult woman right now :(

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 3:04 pm

Typically, I take the Caitlin Moran approach to feminism

“What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?

Jessibel5 Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 3:06 pm

Thanks MMcG. I always felt as though Feminism was a collection of movements and ideologies as well. To tell a woman she’s abandoning feminist ideals because she wants to make a choice that’s right for her is essentially taking away her “equal rights” to make a choice for herself, is what my coworker and I were talking about.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 3:09 pm

MMcG, you’re right that within feminism there are different idealogies. But “feminism” as a whole refers to the fight for women’s equality.

Also, to add to what I posted before… I would say that the idea of “women should be allowed to do whatever the fuck they want” is actually anti-feminist. Feminism is about equality. If women can do whatever they want, where does that leave men? Not equal to women, certainly. Feminism isn’t fighting for women to be above men, just equal.

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 3:10 pm

Actually, it has everything to do with feminism. The fact that women CAN choose whether or not to work or stay home with kids is a direct result of feminism. The fact that more men are comfortable in choosing to be stay-at-home parents is also a result of feminism. Feminism lets us decide what’s best for ourselves, and our families, without being tied to traditional gender roles (OR choosing traditional gender roles if that’s what makes us happiest).

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 3:23 pm

What I meant was, the choice that she makes is in and of itself not feminism. The fact that she has a choice to make is due to feminism though, as you say.

To be clear, I’m not saying that she’s “unfeminist” for wanting to stay home. You can be feminist and be a SAHM. But being a SAHM doesn’t make you feminist, and being a working mom doesn’t make you feminist. What you believe in and what you fight for makes you feminist (or not).

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 3:36 pm

Ah, yes. We’re on the same page, then. I misunderstood initially.

avatar Addie Pray August 21, 2012, 11:25 pm

Go Cats!

Jessibel5 Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 3:32 pm

Actually, I have never labeled myself as a feminist at all. Do I believe in equal rights? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t say that that’s a defining characteristic of my personality (being a “feminist”) But I just took issue with being told I was going against feminist ideals.

I think that too much stock is being put into what we were spitballing out of frustration. I was trying to be tongue in cheek when I said “do whatever the fuck they want” and the tone of the conversation didn’t exactly convey over the written word of that comment. We don’t think we’re better than men, we just want to be able to make choices without being told we’re betraying other women by doing so. Basically we figured that if we weren’t being forced into our choice, it was our equal right to make the choice.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 3:49 pm

If you believe in equal rights for women, then congratulations, you’re a feminist.

The reason that I had to jump in here and take you to task a bit is that I’ve seen too much of this kind of stuff. Unfortunately there was a wave of outspoken, militant feminists who gave out the impression that that was all there was to feminism. And then you have the stupid crap like Sarah Palin calling herself feminist. The same woman who when she was mayor helped set the policy that women should have to pay for their own rape kits. That is not a feminist. Merely being a woman and having a high-powered job does not make you a feminist.

I just want people to understand what feminism is, and to stop having it treated as a bad word. Until we’re equal, it’s still needed, and we have to be brave enough to step forward and say that we’re still here.

Jessibel5 Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 4:04 pm

Yeah, apologies, but I think that you “taking me to task” was misplaced and I hope you weren’t being condescending, but that’s what I was reading it as. The whole thing I wrote was supposed to be tongue in cheek, I was being silly as I’m wont to do at times, and I believe that we’re more on the same page than we think…I have a hunch that we’re debating semantics…when I wrote feminism in the “definition of feminism” I should have clarified by saying “feminist ideals”. So agree to disagree on that part?

Like I said, the “do whatever the fuck we want” wasn’t a Cartman “whatever, whatever, I do what I want” but more of a “hey, let me make my own choice and get your nose out of it” statement. We were couching it through the “Feminism” definition because that was what had been brought up. Like I said, our ability to make that choice is made possible by the feminist mindset that we CAN do what we want, (but not in the eff youuuu, I do what I want! way)because that is what makes us equal. I’m not being forced to stay home, which is what feminism is attempting to put an end to, but staying home isn’t a big ole eff you to feminism either. That’s all I’m trying to say, I guess. I think miscommunication is what happened here, after reading more of the comments.

I am absolutely not a “feminazi” as I have heard them called, and think that the militant feminist with the misplaced man hating is a detriment. I had a roommate who was one once and she was insufferable to live with (and is also the one who told me that staying at home was wrong, who started this whole hullabaloo).

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 4:27 pm

Well, I’m sorry if that’s not how you meant it, but I don’t know you in person, nor do the majority of the people reading this. You didn’t make any sign that it was a joke, so I didn’t have any way of knowing that it was. And there are people who actually believe that that’s what feminism means, and there are also people who may read your post and be led to believe that’s what feminism means, so that’s why I felt it was necessary to jump in.

I think that you’re right that we’re basically on the same side. And I think most women would be, if they understood what the word meant. It ties back to what Wendy was saying, about women fighting against each other. We have to get back to this understanding of women (and those men who stand with us) as a unit, as a bunch of people who agree on one big thing even if there are a lot of little details that we don’t all agree on.

Anyway, sorry if you felt condescended to, that wasn’t my intent. But I think a good conversation came out of it.

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 4:34 pm

I’m also perplexed by those who reject the title even though they share the ideals. (Generally speaking, not directed at Jessibel as I can see your response).

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 4:37 pm

…Oh, and I also don’t understand those who believe that we no longer need feminism. I think this thread is evidence that we do.

avatar painted_lady August 21, 2012, 6:40 pm

@Cats – I’m also really confused by the women who claim all the ideals of feminism and reject the title (again, not directed at Jessibel). It always reminds me of those girls, mostly in high school, who were always really vocal about not being “one of *those* girls,” which usually involved some combination of holding the boys accountable for being assholes, saying no to unwanted sexual activity, and being vocal about being smart. Not that any of this makes one a “bad” feminist, but using that to prove why you’re so much easier to deal with than girls with opinions and feelings is so disingenuous.

Jessibel5 Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 3:37 pm

“We” meaning me and my coworker, the ones who were having the conversation.

Crochet.Ninja Michelle.Lea August 21, 2012, 3:55 pm

i totally agree. it’s about having that choice. the equality that you can go get a job if you want, you are not forced to stay at home with the kids. but if that’s your choice, more power to you! my mom was a stay at home mom, but huge in making sure we girls knew we were just as good as anyone else, no matter what our choices were.

Amybelle Amybelle August 21, 2012, 7:27 pm

Well how about if you don’t indirectly slam women who have children and work “There are no shortage of people on the planet. If you don’t want to actually care for your kids — don’t have any. It’s really THAT simply” I have no problem with stay at home moms until they start claiming to be better moms than working moms, or say things like “I could never have someone else take care of my children” because they love their kids more than those women who are working moms, that’s why they make the sacrifices to stay home. Not every stay at home mom has this attitude but many do. And apparently some childless gay men as well. I have been both a stay at home mom and a working mom and I see no discernible difference in my children based on who had mom at home all day longer. I like working, I love my work, and when I got divorced from my abusive husband I was damn glad to have an established career. I would not have been a better mom to my kids had I stayed home with all of them, and that is my decision to make. But this assumption that being a SAHM is “best” and what every woman should strive for is wrong.

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 23, 2012, 12:17 pm

Preach it, sista!

avatar Grilledcheesecalliope August 21, 2012, 3:18 pm

That is an interesting statement. It says a lot about your veiws on family and child rearing. Those would be your babies too and i hope you regard their father as more than ”some man” . When a couple mutually decides that a woman will stay home and Care for their children she is not demoted to baby factory.

avatar AmyRenee August 21, 2012, 1:58 pm

Read “The Two Income Trap”. It addresses this issue pretty thoroughly. One of the major points is the concept of the 30 year mortgage is a pretty new idea, and that home prices are so over-inflated in areas with good schools that you HAVE to have 2 incomes to live there, creating a vicious cycle.

But addressing the SOMEBODY should stay at home issue: my son is at a wonderful daycare. The director has a PhD, the curriculum director and several teachers have a Masters Degrees, one of my son’s current teachers has been there for 30 years and another was my next door neighbor for 30 years. They are professionals and like family to us. They are the ones who taught my son to read, helped him be potty trained and told us when they suspected he had a hearing problem. So don’t paint all work-out-of-the-home parents and daycares with the same brush, there are some that are good and some that aren’t just like everything else in the world.

Oh, and I live every day terrified that if I lose my job my family loses our insurance. So I must work. Don’t judge me for it until you’ve walked in my shoes.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:38 pm

I am going to buy that book today :)

avatar Mr. Live Within My Means August 22, 2012, 12:40 pm

I think one of the many reasons people can’t live on a single income is because they’re HUGE consumers. You don’t need cable, to go out to eat once a week, a car for everyone who owns a license in your home, or the latest gadget. I haven’t even hit 30 and I’m the only person among my peers who owns a cell phone that only calls or texts and nothing more, I don’t own a tv, I don’t own a car, and I LOVE my life. Quit being so greedy and life will become easier.

And YES if you don’t have the ability to choose between having a job or having a child, then don’t have a child. What kind of life will the child lead if you’re at work all the time and they’re spending their time with a stranger? Be an adult. Just because you WANT something does not mean you NEED something, and that includes children.

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 23, 2012, 12:22 pm

A huge pet peeve of mine is this assumption that working parents never spend time with their children. I work from 9-4 M-F, which means that I have around 1.5 hours with my daughter before work and approximately 5 hours with her in the evening, not to mention all day Friday and Saturday. Get your facts straight before you start making assumptions and accusations!!!

Cassie CassieB August 24, 2012, 4:50 am

I do agree that consumerism is part of the problem. I am also someone who doesn’t have a fancy phone (mine just makes calls, we don’t even have text messaging), I have a tv with the free channels on it (no cable), and limit going out to eat, although I do have a car. However, I think there is more to the disparity issue than just consumerism. For me, things such as student loan debt due to the astronomical price of college (a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation for my generation), rent, insurance costs, utilities, etc. are a huge portion of my paycheck.

I do think, though, that one can be a successful parent whether staying at home or working. My mom was a single mother who went to community college when my brother and I were younger in order to gain a better life, and then worked. Yeah, things were tight financially for a while, but the memories I have of that time are not about having too little or not seeing my mom a lot. Oh, no. I would see her plenty, and we never felt without. Instead, there was an abundance of love and support, and those more than simply financial well-being or someone staying at home are what makes healthy children.

avatar Mandy November 6, 2012, 7:48 pm

I don’t think it’s just that, though. The minimum wage in 1970 was 1.60. In today’s dollars, that’s around $6.50. Minimum wage today is around $7.50. Yet, in 1970, a candy bar cost .10. Today that same bar costs $1-2. The amount of inflation has gone up drastically, while minimum wage has remained basically the same. That’s a problem, regardless of what people “do” and “don’t” need. As far as living on a 1-family income, as some have referenced, rent affordability on minimum wage is basically impossible. The Times had a great article about it the other day – http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/paying-rent-on-minimum-wage/ In my area, I’d have to work over 85 hours per week on minimum wage to afford rent. How is that at all “greedy”?

AKchic_ AKchic_ November 6, 2012, 12:50 pm

Actually… I think it all depends on your location. My family can get by on one income. What you’re describing is before everyone had to one-up each other (also known as “keepin’ up with the Joneses”) with material wealth/property and live above their means.

Did you ever think that maybe employers started undervaluing their workforce because “women could do it”? I mean, if they had to pay a woman to do the same work (and let’s be honest, until recently, they wouldn’t even have considered paying the SAME wages to a woman as a man), then why should men get so damned much? A WOMAN can do his fucking job!

Then add under-the-table deals (i.e., non-American workers, American citizens trying to stay off the books to avoid taxes, child support, the law, etc, and shady practices on corporate’s side as well to help inflate their profits) and you’ve got more undervaluation.

Women working isn’t the issue. If I remember my history right, the majority of women hit the workforce as their civic and patriotic duty. To support the war effort in the 30s-40s during WWII. Our men were fighting overseas and we NEEDED women to work. Many felt so damned empowered and realized we were getting short shrift that returning to the kitchen just wasn’t an option. We wanted to be equals.
BGM, I think you, of all people, should at least have some idea of this. Would you like it if the gov’t said that you aren’t worth as much to pay because you won’t marry a woman (irregardless of the reason)? That should you get sick because you were raped – well, you were asking to get raped because of your orientation so your body couldn’t fight off the disease? That’s a pale comparison and I’m comparing apples to oranges, but it’s the best I’ve got to give you a commonality.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 12:32 pm

yeah it would be wonderful if one parent could stay home but it just often can’t happen. And all of my friends who work and have babies love their children just as much as someone who has the ability to stay home.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 12:44 pm

That is the HUGE failure of our society. The middle class is truly gone.

Jessibel5 Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 2:52 pm

It is truly sad that there are people who do believe that because a woman has to work that they love their children less :( We are going to try to have me stay home, but it may not work out. Either way I’ll love my children just as much. It grinds my gears when working women and non-working women amongst my friends both say that they have it harder than their counterparts. It’s equally as hard…just in different ways. That doesn’t invalidate the severity of the issues on either side.

avatar painted_lady August 21, 2012, 6:10 pm

And the assumption that women must, must, MUST sacrifice everything – men too, although that’s still not the default – in order to have a baby is just grossly unfair. You may decide after six months – if you have the luxury to stay home that long by choice – that you’re going to be a happier, healthier, better mom if you have a job outside the home for a few hours or more every day. Provided that your child is well cared for by a nanny or a good daycare or someone in your family, that should be your choice to make. Even if you have the funds to be a full-time SAHM, you get to choose what’s best for your family.

avatar Eagle Eye August 21, 2012, 11:28 pm

Thank you! That’s exactly what my mother did and I truly believe that I turned out better for it (because she was so much happier and saner – so I was too!)

avatar MJ August 21, 2012, 12:26 pm

Yeah, I have real problem with dichotomy you’re setting up here:

love nurture and care for your new baby VS going out of town for your career

Just because you want to keep working or love your career doesn’t mean that you don’t want to love, nurture and care for your baby. It’s not a zero sum game. I know stay-at-home moms who spend a good chunk of their time on Facebook/the internet and working moms who have their kids in quality daycares where they get a structured routine and lots of stimulation. You can’t make one-size-fits-all pronouncements about this stuff.

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 21, 2012, 1:45 pm

Yes! And I feel like so many SAHMs I know on some level feel very resentful or frustrated about their lives. I think they’ve actually shown that parental satisfaction tends to be lower for SAHMs. I am blessed to work, essentially, part-time, which really works out well for us!

avatar Clare August 21, 2012, 2:04 pm

But there are also probably plenty of moms who have have to work and hate their jobs also. You can’t generalize on either side — obviously some parents love staying at home while others don’t. No choice is automatically “better.”

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 21, 2012, 2:39 pm

I couldn’t agree more, and I always wonder if at least some of that is “the grass is always greener” mentality.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 5:40 pm

Actually there’s a study that shows that women who work are happier than SAHMs. They believe that the reason is that SAHMs are isolated in our culture in a way women never used to be. Think about how humans used to live, way back when. You’d live in a village of what, 50, 100 people? Kids would just run all over the place. All the adults knew each other, knew the kids, and had authority to tell any kid to stop what they were doing. The effect was that you didn’t have to constantly watch your own kid all the time. Everyone watched everyone’s kids, and the adults were relatively free to go about their daily work.

Heck, even read books like Tom Sawyer. The kids are just let out on their own all day. In fact, that’s how I grew up myself. The problem is with urbanization, and not really knowing our neighbours, there isn’t that community to watch over the kids. So now each mom is essentially watching her own kids constantly, without a break, and without much of a community to fall back on. I mean, most women have a network of friends and family, but they’re typically not living right in your local neighbourhood. It’s not the staying at home that’s bad, per se. It’s the staying at home in our current culture.

Here’s a link to the press release which includes the full article:

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 23, 2012, 12:25 pm

Thanks for posting. I’m pretty sure that’s the article I was referencing above!

avatar mf August 21, 2012, 12:26 pm

I get what you’re saying, but unfortunately, a lot of families just can’t afford to have one parent stay home. Or similarly, if one parent does take a few years off to stay home, his or her career may never recover. And if you’re a mom that has to work, why should you settle for less pay and miss out on promotion simply because you have kids? People wouldn’t make the same assumption that a man with children can’t take an out-of-town assignment because of his kids.

LK7889 LK7889 August 21, 2012, 1:37 pm

Actually, after my parent’s divorce and my father gaining custody of my brother and me, he was looked over many times for travel assignments and promotions because he was a SINGLE parent. If you are a single parent, male or female, chances are that you are getting shafted by corporate America.

Lianne Lianne August 21, 2012, 12:30 pm

And why shouldn’t this woman have both both? Have a child that she loves, nurtures, and cares for, as well as a job that nourishes her? I can’t even believe you said this. It’s a legitimate concern for MANY people – moms AND dads who work in corporate America – who want to spend time with their children, but get chastised for it if they leave the office at 5:30 PM. I think you really took this comment to the extreme.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 12:37 pm

I have no trouble believing he said it. BGM is a professional manspaliner.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 12:39 pm

How much loving and nurturing can one really provide anything when they leave it at home and fly off to London to prattle on endlessly about Michael Phelps?

Yes, I honestly believe that somebody — mother or father — should be willing to stay home those first few formative years. Hell, I’d sure love to do that. Little kids are truly amazing. I can’t imagine wanting to be at some stupid office pushing papers around pointlessly if I had an infant or toddler at home. I can’t imagine wanting to miss that… Call me crazy.

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 12:43 pm

Willing to and able to are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:06 pm

THAT’S the big failure of society. Suddenly almost nobody has that choice… And it didn’t used to be that way. In the 1970s there were many working women and there were many stay at home moms.

Suddenly being a stay at home mom is almost not even an option for those who want it.

My sister and her husband — who supposedly has a “good” job, he’s in management at a major corporation — struggle with this constantly. They live frugally, they live within their means, and yet they are still really struggling right now in this economy. That’s totally insane. When the economy is at a point where a white collar worker can barely support his family — society is really fucked up.

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 1:17 pm

my issue with what you’ve been posting is that you’ve repeatedly said “willing to stay home”. I 110% agree it is in the best interest of a child to have one of their parents with them during their early years of their life…but thats not what your words have been saying.

“should be willing to stay home”
“SOMEBODY should be willing to stay home”

It’s implied in your original post. *Idealy* one parent should stay home with the child. YES! We all agree. But it’s not feasable in todays world most of the time. Plenty of moms and dads are WILLING to stay home but simply are not able to.

Also, fact of the matter is even if there is a stay at home dad (or another mom) in the picture- working mothers are viewed negatively by corporate American and society in general.

avatar Clare August 21, 2012, 1:24 pm

100% agree. Living without at least $30,000 a year for five years is a financial blow most people can’t handle, no matter how much one parent WANTS to stay at home.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:30 pm

And I’ve said repeated that that is THE huge fuck up of our reality right now. It didn’t used to be that way. Many used to live quite comfortably on one income. And yet, suddenly, in but one generation, all that has utterly vanished.

I don’t understand how more aren’t angry and upset at this.

avatar Clare August 21, 2012, 1:33 pm

But if that’s the problem, why do you keep saying people shouldn’t have kids if they aren’t WILLING to stay home? Do you think that nobody should have kids if they can’t afford to have one parent stay home?

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 1:39 pm

He probably does, Clare.

avatar Eagle Eye August 21, 2012, 3:54 pm

So, basically, he’s saying that since my bf and I who are both PhDs – and love our careers (or else we wouldn’t be putting ourselves through all of this) should not have children because our careers fulfill a side of ourselves that family can’t and frankly shouldn’t?

Plus, what about in the case of my absolutely wonderful mom who was miserable taking care of us all day, we drove her totally batshit? Should she have been forced to stay at home and slowly go nuts? Or not have had us? Would that have been healthier…

Ugh, now you’ve insulted my mom by proxy and now I’m pissed.

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 1:36 pm

We ARE upset about it. That’s kind of the point of Wendy’s post, that women don’t have as many options anymore, and that we’re increasingly being pushed into a corner where we’re forced to juggle both successful careers where we keep up to date with all the fast paced changes and try to prove that our babies don’t decrease our value as workers, and we have to be loving mothers who spend hours making baby food from fresh organic vegetables and breast feeding and using the optimal sleeping arrangement and blah blah blah or we get hell for it. That is the point of this conversation.

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 1:52 pm

I’m upset. I really am. It would be delightful to stay home with the children I hope to have. But if I have to be a working mom I don’t want anyone to assume it’s because I’m not willing to stay home and raise my child. And that is what your statements are implying.

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 21, 2012, 3:27 pm

Actually, I think you’re making an overly broad statement by saying that “ideally, we all agree that one parent should stay home.” I actually don’t think that’s true. I get a lot out of work, putting my Master’s Degree to use, and feeling useful around other adults. I actually think working some allows me to enjoy my time at home with my daughter more and allows me to focus 110% on her, and, I think she has benefited a lot from daycare/preschool. I think moms (or dads) should do whatever works best for them and their families, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s inherently better to always have a stay at home parent.

Amybelle Amybelle August 21, 2012, 7:34 pm

Thank you, you stated this better than I did

avatar GatorGirl August 23, 2012, 11:05 am

You are right that it’s an overly broad statement, but at the time it was written no one had spoken up otherwise. My ultimate point is that all children have whats best for them, if it’s a stay at home mom/dad/aunt/uncle/grandparent or a daycare setting. I was in reaction mode to the origianl comment (that children should only be birthed when financially capable of having a stay at home parent). I do think being a working parent is just as valuable as being a stay at home parent for a huge variety of reasons.

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 23, 2012, 12:23 pm

Thanks for clarifying!

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 1:28 pm

If you recognize that it’s a problem in our society, then why was your original comment directed toward women not being dedicated enough to be parents instead of commenting on how sad it is that women are in that position in the first place? Yes, you’ve made that point since then, but you’re failing to put the two issues together and look at the combined picture.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:33 pm

Because I thought that particular example was ridiculous. That’s the only part of the entire article that I take issue with. It just sounded so absurd to me.

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 1:37 pm

What are you talking about? What example? I’m just referring to the contradictions in your own comments here.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:49 pm

The news producer whose only reaction to her newborn was a fear that suddenly the network wouldn’t send her out on out of town assignments… That’s that example I’m talking about and that seemed to be the example you were calling me out on.

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 1:55 pm

I’m referring to your first comment here that you shouldn’t be a parent if you’re concerned about your career instead of staying at home, and your comments about how it’s almost impossible to live off of only one income. It’s a contradiction that only leaves rich people to reproduce, which I think we can probably agree would be horrible for the next generation if it only consisted of trust fund kids.

avatar Clare August 21, 2012, 1:56 pm

To me, that example represents a fear of the possibility of being passed over for deserved tasks, promotions, etc. because of the idea that you can’t be fully dedicated to your career after you have a child and the idea that it has to be a choice between your personal life and your professional life. Just because someone wants to keep up their work schedule and continue to do out of town assignments absolutely doesn’t mean she loves her child any less.

Dear Wendy Wendy August 21, 2012, 2:00 pm

The news producer’s “only” reaction to her newborn was a fear that suddenly the network wouldn’t send her out of town? Huh, that’s interesting seeing as she actually stayed home until her daughter was well past “newborn” stage (taking an extended, unpaid leave for an additional three months past her initial maternity leave). And I can assure you that she has many, many, MANY more concerns regarding her daughter than how she’s going to cover childcare should her employer ask her to leave town for an assignment.

But, yes, being mommy-tracked at work is certainly a concern for her, as well as countless other loving, wonderful mothers. Loving your career and wanting to be fulfilled and treated fairly despite having demands at home doesn’t make you a bad mother. Thinking about how to find the best care for your child when work keeps you from being home doesn’t make you a bad mother.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 2:06 pm

theattack: I don’t think the two points are mutually exclusive. I don’t think the news producer SHOULD have become a mother if that’s truly her mindset. I also do think it’s sad that society has made it so pretty much both parents have to work. It didn’t used to be that way. Rich and poor used to both be able to have one parent at home. The fact that that has changed is profoundly sad and disturbing, but nobody seems to give a rip about. Nobody in either party ever would even dare to address that. Why? Because both parties have done all they can to destroy the middle class. Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for this…

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 2:19 pm

You’re framing them as mutually exclusive though. When you look at a parent and fault them for being concerned about their careers instead of a 100% focus on parenting, but you still acknowledge that families have to have two incomes now, you are failing to see the cause and effect there. You’re essentially blaming parents for responding to society. Our decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. I don’t understand why you aren’t making the connection there.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 2:21 pm

Wendy, I’m sorry, but the way you included her in the article made it seem that way to me that that was her most pressing concern. Lately, it seems everybody around here is so touchy and looking to take everything in the worst possible way…

Nothing comes without sacrifice. Personally, I don’t understand why so many want to have their cake and leave it at home with a sitter. I’d have my cake, take some time to enjoy it, and then go back to work. If my career suffered, so be it. I’d have spent all that time with my kid and probably wouldn’t regret it.

And, somehow I doubt a major network news producer “has” to work. Or, as I have repeatedly suggested earlier — maybe her husband could stay home? Seriously. Look, it sounds like she has a KILLER job. Does he? If not, I say he should stay home then. Seriously. I mean that 100 percent. And if he has a killer job — well, they maybe they just shouldn’t have had kid right now. If they are that worried about their career. To me, it sounds rather shallow.

Dear Wendy Wendy August 21, 2012, 2:44 pm

She’s not married, as I pointed out when I called her a “single mother.” And, no, she cannot just stay home, as much as she’d like to. Like many single mothers, as well as mothers who are married, her income and her maintaining her position in her career, are kind of important if she wants to provide a good and comfortable life for her daughter.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 3:30 pm

Well, then she has to be realistic a bit about the demands of her career I should think.

Admittedly, I am NOT a huge proponent of planned, deliberate single parenthood. I’m not. Please note in particular the use of the words planned and deliberate. Hey, if it happens due to divorce or what not, I get it. And the world is indeed filled with noble people the very best they can…

Look, I would say the same exact thing to my gay best friend. He has an amazing career and he has to travel all the time, too. And yes, he makes boatloads of money… But if he went out and adopted a kid and expected his career to be virtually unaffected I would tell him he was crazy. It’s just not realistic. Sam works 8, 12, sometimes 14 hours a day. When exactly would he even have time to be a parent? Seriously.

And if he were to complain to me about how worried he is that he won’t be asked to travel all the time and was frantically trying to find somebody to take care of his kid, I’d look at him and ask? “Sam, seriously? Why are you even doing this? Really? What’s the point?”

I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s fair to the kid. I really don’t. I think its absurdly narcissistic. “I can have it ALL.” Yeah, sure. Whatever. You can, I guess… Maybe. But you are expecting both your kid and your workplace to make some pretty major concessions in my opinion.

avatar HmC August 21, 2012, 3:41 pm

I see where you’re coming from Mark, and I agree with you. I think though, that there is a problem with the inherent inequality for women in these types of situations. The way patriarchy works, the way that workplaces are set up, and the (more and more frequently) subtle judgment in many people’s viewpoints regarding working mothers only and not fathers, all perpetuate an inequality that is bad for society as a whole, both women and men.

SweetsAndBeats SweetsAndBeats August 21, 2012, 9:47 pm

I have to agree, I think it’s absurd that people actually think that they can “have it all” and not sacrifice a thing. Children require an insane amount of time and energy. They DESERVE that time and energy from their parents. High level jobs require an insane amount of time and energy. You do not DESERVE that level of success if you don’t give the job that level of time and energy. Unless you find that “Limitless” movie pill, you’re never going to achieve it without some parts of your life suffering. And I think it’s rather shitty of people who know that they are going to have to grapple between the choice of career and parenthood to bring a child into the equation. The child should come into a world where its parents aren’t going to have to re-prioritize and shuffle things around in order to make that child fit into the parents’ world.

avatar clancy August 22, 2012, 2:36 pm

If men got pregnant, Maternity (Paternity) leave would be a Requirement, not a poor choice of an option. The point is, people do not live in a vacuum, given the way the economy is, few but the rich CAN afford to have a child and do all that is and should be required. Of course, we’d soon run out of people and the economy would follow.

When you can be a mother, when you are the one trying to decide whether to pay the rent or the drugstore for the scripts, when you have to decide do we want meat this month or are we going to the doctor… then and only then, should you respond to something like this. As a male, you’re just too bitter… maybe mommy didn’t stay home with you…maybe some other woman gave you a hard time. I have 2 brothers that grew up in the same household as I did… they turned out fine.

avatar temperance August 21, 2012, 11:26 pm

But … but …. she’s a mother now. Clearly, any other interests, pursuits, and independent thoughts should fly out the window. She’s no longer a person!

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 3:17 pm

EDIT: I see now that the TV News Producer is a single mother.

All I have to say on that is I wouldn’t recommend that my single gay best friend who has a KILLER career rush out and adopt a six month old either, not unless he was really to make some huge changes in his life with regards to work… And if he started whining to me about how he couldn’t travel constantly anymore for work, I’d say, “C’mon, Sam. Seriously? Why even have the kid?”

avatar Jiggs August 21, 2012, 9:35 pm

Her ONLY reaction? That’s pretty presumptuous. That’s a legitimate concern to express – being passed up for the good jobs at work. She obviously loves her job and wants to continue with it…so what?

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 3:02 pm

Your right – it would be so absurd of me to spend over a decade of my life, putting myself through school and getting an advanced degree, getting myself on the path to a career that my parents (one HS grad, one college) could only dream of – to then worry about how society can and will judge me if I dare decide to have a child. Whether or not the investment that I put in myself, to better my future family, would go to waste because some asshole will assume I’m a lesser qualified, unprofessional human being since I squeezed a kid out of my vagina. Crazy of a gal to worry about! Totally not an issue at all! Mommy-track is just some made up concern like the War on Women…

Mind you all – I also realize how lucky I am to be in the US to try and deal with these problems. I could just be spending my day fetching unclean water from a source miles away and trying to outrun the predatory animals and men on the way back to the village.

avatar iseeshiny August 21, 2012, 1:59 pm

I’ve noticed that’s a pattern with his comments. He starts off making a blanket statement on women in general. When he catches shit for it he backpedals. “Oh, I meant society in general.” “Oh, I meant these particular (stupid)(ignorant)(exes) women.” “Oh, I just mean it’s so much easier for straight people.” That may be true – usually it is, but it doesn’t mean he didn’t make the fallacious blanket statement to begin with.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 2:32 pm

Huh? I wasn’t talking about all women today at the top of the thread at all… I was talking about one specific women — The TV News Producer. And suddenly, some took that as a blanket attack on women in general and then I expanded my comments.

avatar ChemE August 21, 2012, 3:10 pm

The woman is a single mother, who would have big issues with caring for her daughter if she was required to leave town. Maybe she intended to stay at home with the kid, and then her husband died/divorced her/went to Mars, how does she deal with that?

Fabelle Fabelle August 21, 2012, 3:11 pm

It’s the way you phrase things. In the 1st paragraph of your original comment, you only refer to the news producer very obliquely, & then in your 2nd paragraph, you move on to address people in general with a bunch of “you” statements. (This time, it’s people. Most of the time, it is women.) Your comments on a post are often like an upside-down pyramid, starting out very broadly, then narrowing as people jump in to defend themselves.

avatar iseeshiny August 21, 2012, 3:12 pm

I believe you when you say that’s what you meant this time. I hope you entertain the possibility that the reason so many people took your comment in a way you evidently didn’t intend is because your prior comments tended to follow a certain pattern.

avatar temperance August 21, 2012, 11:20 pm

Yesterday, he made a comment on a post that he didn’t believe victims of sexual assault if they chose not to report to the police.

He says a lot of misogynist stuff here, and rarely gets called on it, so THANK YOU.

avatar ele4phant August 21, 2012, 5:13 pm

I don’t disagree that our current economic circumstances that demand two income households to stay afloat is screwed. I don’t like your implication that the women’s movement is responsible for this. There are far too many factors to put the blame all on women who wanted to work in the 1970s.

Personally, if I had to choose just one factor most responsible for this, I would point to the rise in consumer culture.

avatar rachel August 21, 2012, 12:47 pm

Would you like to explain how she could afford to FEED her child then?

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 12:41 pm

It’s not even corporate America though. There are people of all walks of life and economic brakets who are excellent parents and both have to work. There are plenty of single moms and dads (and grandma and aunts and uncles) who raise intelligent, caring, normal, responsible children while working.

avatar ChemE August 21, 2012, 12:33 pm

Let’s just say that in my household, my husband will probably be the one who stays home with our children. So, to your point, someone WILL be home taking care of the kids.
And I still have to worry about the stigma of being a mother. Would my husband ever have that issue? No, he wouldn’t.

And, I shouldn’t have to choose between a family and a career. Why did I spend all that energy, time, and money in school if I’m not “allowed” to have a career because people like you say I should have picked kids or a career, not both.

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 12:40 pm

Exactly, the point was that working fathers don’t face the same type of discriminiation in the workplace.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:12 pm

Trust me, sadly, you’re husband will then get to enjoy the stigma of being a stay at home dad. It’s not like men get off exactly scott free anymore either.

And I’m not saying anybody should have to give up their careers forever. Just that SOMEBODY should talk a five year break and actually enjoy their children. Frankly, it amazes me that this is truly that radical of an opinion.

I suppose I could be biased here because my own career has always really fucking sucked. But honestly, I know few working people out there that just LOVE their jobs. Hell, even here on DearWendy all most people do here is complain. Are your career’s really THAT great?

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 1:33 pm

That’s not the point, Mark. People don’t always love their jobs. They love that they have food on the table and a roof over their heads.

Even so, what if someone DOES love their job? Stepping out of the workplace for five years is devastating to a career. When that person eventually wants to go back to work, they may not even be qualified for the same position they were before as technology changes, and employers assume that if you don’t keep using your skills you lose them. Taking five years off work is not just five years. It’s usually those five years and then a major cut to your career prospects in the future. Yes, it’s still excellent to have a parent stay home with a small child, but it’s not as simple as you’re trying to make it.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 2:36 pm

It used to be very simple. Everybody used to do it.

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 2:53 pm

It wasn’t very simple Mark, it was the illusion that was created that made it seem like life was a box of rainbows and June Cleaver. And if by everybody used to do it you mean in 1952 when Dad went out and worked and Mom stayed home popping “mommy’s little helper” pills to keep her speeded up and positive throughout the day then let’s go back in time!

We can also go back in time to the point where heroin was good for the skin and Coca-Cola had real coke in it. Your view of women in history and their roles (and apparently how simple and carefree we were) is just WRONG.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 3:10 pm

I dunno. I look at my mothers life compared to my sisters and the change is jawdropping. My sister’s husband is much more advanced in his career than my father was at his point, and the standard of living is absurdly reversed… 1970s = Brand new house in the midwest surburbs. 2010’s = average apartment in the hell hole that is Dallas.

Look, my mom stayed home in the 1970s and she wasn’t popping pills. She genuinely enjoyed her decision and recently told my sister that was why she totally supported my sister’s own unexpected desire to quit working once she had her and her husband had their only baby.

The fact that so many motherhood as such a disaster — and something where anybody who chooses to stay home has to become a drug addict to survive is sad. I’m not saying it didn’t happen. But I would argue that those pill popping moms of the 1950s shouldn’t have had kids to begin with. Instead, they should have had the freedom to be outside of the home and working at a career they love. Forget having kids! There is no crime in not wanting kids. Not all moms in the 1950s were hating their lives and popping pills to get by.

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 3:24 pm

I didn’t say have to be a drug addict, I was just pointing out the utopian vision that you think existing previously DID NOT. Many women were miserable and lonely and depressed and when they spoke to their doctors they were told to get over it and to take a pill. Of course we are also talking about a period in time when rape didn’t exist if you were married… shall we go there about how many marriages were hiding torment behind closed doors because it just wasn’t talked about!?!

I don’t think today’s woman has it any better or worse than women of yesterday… just different. For example, today you can be raped as a married woman by your husband (legal advance!) but when trying to talk to your doctor about prenatal depression you’re ignored or told hurtful things like stop watching soaps. If anything, the world may seem so f-ed up now because we as a society try to talk more openly about things like mental illness, domestic violence, molestation, etc. which used to be completely hidden (and unfortunately in many families/communities still is). Of course we could just go back to the early 1900s then the women who were being “hysterical” would have been masterbated by their doctors and all was ok.

I’m glad it worked out for your mom, and that she enjoyed her homelife… not every woman did, or chose to stay home voluntarily.

avatar ele4phant August 21, 2012, 5:22 pm

“I was just pointing out the utopian vision that you think existing previously DID NOT. Many women were miserable and lonely and depressed”

Seriously, isn’t the depressed 1950s housewife cliche pretty well known. Wasn’t there a reason for the whole woman’s liberation in the first place. It was because life was f*cking miserable for a lot of women when their options were limited to secretary or housewife.

avatar MJ August 21, 2012, 9:18 pm

And let’s not forget how miserable life was for many gay men and women!

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 3:19 pm

What people used to do isn’t very relevant to discussions about what’s going on currently. It gives us a point of reference, but it doesn’t solve the problem of the tough situation parents, especially mothers, are in. No offense, but I don’t understand what the point of that type of a comment is except for nostalgia.

Yes, everybody used to do it, and no one had the ability choose to do otherwise if the prescribed role of SAHM wasn’t a good fit for them. I certainly don’t want to go back to a time when staying at home would be my only option, just for the sake of having a society where it would be easier to stay at home.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 21, 2012, 1:35 pm

Actually, my dad was a stay at home dad for most of my high school years – he took a sabbatical from work and was originally only going to not work for like 6 months to a year. He ended up not working for three years because he loved it so much. We had a great relationship while he was at home because I saw him all the time, and he became involved in whatever I was involved in at school – with the dance team and with theater. Everybody loved him – especially the dance team moms, lol. I don’t think anybody looked down on him for choosing to stay at home. He had earned that right after working full-time as a lawyer for many, many years. It was a great break for him. He did end up going back into law, but only so that he and my mom could still do all the things that they liked to do, like traveling and such.

avatar ChemE August 21, 2012, 3:06 pm

So, as a society, children give a stigma to anyone who has them. Do you see nothing wrong with this? And you are perpetuating this idea.

My career provides the house I live in, the car I drive to work, the food on the table, the money for my student loans, the electricity keeping my house going, the gas for my furnace, the water for… Do you get the picture?
Do I like working? No, but could my household survive on my husband’s paycheck (even though he really does like he job), no, not even close.

I think the point here is, you have an opinion on how you would live your life. I have a different one. Does mine fit you? No. Does yours fit mine? No. Why do we need to constantly criticize each others life choices? Why do we have to defend ourselves? You have no right to judge my, or anyone’s life the same as we don’t have the right to judge yours.
If I want to have kids and have a job, then so goddamn be it. If I never want to have kids and live in a monastery, so be it. If I want to give society the finger and go live as a hermit in the woods because I freaking love nature, then so fucking be it. You don’t have to agree with any of it, but until you walk in my shoes, understand my choices, don’t judge me.

There are a MILLION reasons people have kids, intentional and unintentional. There are a MILLION reasons both parents have to work to support their households. There are a MILLION reasons why a family would have one of them stay at home.

avatar ebstarr August 21, 2012, 12:34 pm

“if you’re a new mom and instead of wanting to love, nurture and care for your new baby you worry about whether or not you’ll get passed over for some silly network puff piece that sends you out of town… well, maybe you shouldn’t have had the baby to begin with?”

Ermmm… Just if you’re a new mom? Should new dads also not have babies if they’re worried their careers will suffer for it?

Oh wait. They don’t have to worry about it, so it’s moot, right? They can procreate whenever they darn well please, I guess. Still – I hope you read Wendy’s piece more carefully and rethink this kind of gendered language.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 12:43 pm

I was really surprised by this, but one of our managers (male) was given two weeks paternity leave. Didn’t ask him if it was paid or anything, but I was very proud of our company.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 12:57 pm

I realize it’s only a small step forward, but the fact that a very ‘old school’ manufacturing company said ‘hey, you and your wife just had a baby, your focus should be at home right now. come back when things have settled down,” that’s just the right attitude to have.

becboo84 BecBoo84 August 21, 2012, 1:06 pm

Men are covered by FMLA laws too!

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 1:21 pm

Of course they get the FMLA, but how many people are pressured into not taking it or not taking enough time? The conversation at the softball game last night was surprisingly positive on the subject. All the guys (who are all fathers) were comparing notes and giving advice on getting babies to sleep. it was cute.

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 1:25 pm

Also not all companies have to abide by FMLA…I think it’s under 25 employees (maybe 50) aren’t required to follow the legislation.

I work for a very small company (less than 15 employees) and yesterday one of our employees wives had a baby- he wants to come back to work already. We’re basically forcing him (he’ll be paid btw) to take today off to be with his new family.

LM LM August 21, 2012, 2:00 pm

GatorGirl, it’s under 50.

To the article… good gravy, I’m so annoyed by all of this! Not the article itself, but the topic. As silly as it is, it is such a struggle to be a working woman and a mom. Putting those two together, well, that’s just obscene! Yes, I say this with tongue firmly in cheek, but it depends on where you’re at professionally. When I had my daughter, I was in the military and I didn’t get criticized per se, more of, you need to get back into shape to fit into standards, etc… I expected this. It didn’t bother me, but the military is very callous when it comes to things like being a parent. I had to fly out of a foreign country to come home on an emergency for my daughter (read if I had been male like one of the other ones that had a similar situation…) and I was told “We didn’t issue you a family” but the guy was allowed to go no problem. Yes, I was really told that.

Fast forward almost 7 years and I am out of the military (and with a “white collar” type job) and had my second baby. My job was actually given away to another person – a man – while I was on maternity leave. No logic or reason behind it other than he couldn’t get pregnant. I was also taken off of several projects due to being pregnant and very heavily mistreated by a ‘supervisor’ who has a major case of b!tch.

I am also criticized for being a working mom and not staying home with my kids. Yet oddly, I also get criticized for making my son’s baby food. Though, I don’t normally let any of this get to me, just felt like responding to Wendy’s article and thank you all for reading my rant if you did!

avatar bethany August 21, 2012, 1:38 pm

Isn’t it sad though when we have to be surprised by that?? The US is so fucked up when it comes to maternity/paternity leave… Don’t even get me started on that!!

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 1:46 pm

i know, right? My cousin and his wife had a baby overseas and she GETS A YEAR OF MATERNITY LEAVE. A YEAR. and it’s so natural and everyone does it and all the women’s jobs are held for them. I want to move to switzerland, too

avatar bethany August 21, 2012, 2:01 pm

I hate the thought of having to back to work so quickly after having a baby, and my company gives you 3 months, which is a lot based on what my friends have gotten. It’s honestly really, really sad. My mom stayed at home until we were in elementary school, and I have so many great memories from that time in my life.
I think one of the main reasons I’m undecided about having kids (at the age of 31), is that I have no idea how we’re going to be able to raise them the way we want to, and still afford to keep our house.

I think that’s what BGM is getting at, and I think he’s right. It’s just really sad.

avatar painted_lady August 21, 2012, 6:57 pm

Agreed – if what we’re arguing is that we *should* have the right to be stay-at home parents if that’s what we want, then oh my god, yes. Our fucked up puritanical work ethic that declares that stopping work for any reason is a sign of weakness and poor job commitment, INCLUDING a newborn who doesn’t sleep through the night and wrecks your body and in many cases your psyche, is so completely insane.

And the crazy part is, I don’t know many people who actually like that kind of pressure. People go to work sick, don’t take their vacation days, work 10+ hours a week, neglect families and relationships and rest and any kind of personal life, those are NOT happy people. And yet we do it out of the sheer terror that if we relax for one second, we will lose our jobs. And everyone else does it, so yeah, if you’re that one person who takes advantage of the time to re-charge and puts other things in life before just work, then you look like the slacker. And it’s not like many companies in the US offer an excessive amount of vacation days.

I get no vacation days during the school year, but that’s because I get 10 weeks in the summer. And yet, I have taken three and a half sick or personal days in the past three years…mostly because I’m scared of what would happen if I actually called in sick. It’s insane, but there you go.

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 5:07 pm

Sweden. I’m moving to Sweden.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 5:20 pm

You can come to Canada, it’s much closer. :) We get 15 weeks of maternity benefits, and then 35 weeks of parental benefits, which can be taken by either parent or shared between them.

You can also draw unemployment during this time, as long as you’ve paid into it in the year before your leave.

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 6:44 pm

That does it I’m heading north. Climate change is going to move all the fertile land and temperate temps up there anyway. Plus its got a solid flag. And I love hockey.

Oh Canada… My (not) home and native land :)

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 12:50 pm

I’ve said repeated in here that SOMEBODY should be willing to stay home. And I’ve said ad nauseum that that somebody could just as easily be the father… I know several heterosexual stay at home dads here in LA and I respect them tremendously. I also respect their wives…

Somebody should stay home. That’s all I’m saying.

avatar Nina August 21, 2012, 2:28 pm

I partially agree with BGM here…It’s harsh, but my bf and I also believe that somebody (mother or father) should stay home, at least until the child starts kindergarten…I believe it’s best for their development. We live in Canada, thankfully we are allowed paid maternity leave for a year and our jobs held for a year as well. That being said, I dread the thought of going to unitversity, obtaining a degree, starting my career and then having to leave the feild for up to 5 years. I consider myself quite left wing (democrat, if I lived in the states), and the reality of our view is that it is more unlikely to happen that way, because how can average people afford to have anyone stay home for 5 years? Even when you have paid maternity leave (it’s not always your full salary, sadly) having a pay cut in this society saldy means you cannot stay afloat :(

avatar Flake August 21, 2012, 12:57 pm

Just out of curiosity… What if a woman and a man set out to have a family, and then, you know, LIFE HAPPENED… They got separated, one of the spouses died or became disabled… What, in your opinion, should they do then with their kids???

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:22 pm

Kill them. What a silly question. (And yes, I am being sarcastic with this opening remark.)

Look, obviously life happens. (That’s also why you should carry proper insurance and what not…) Obviously, I’m not talking about those people. But I don’t understand why so many people seem hell bent on having children and expecting to carry on professionally as if they are still childless. It seems… unrealistic.

Hell, I never even got a dog because I worried I wouldn’t ever be home enough…

Look, not everybody is cut out to be a parent. Hey, just read today’s DW Letter and hear all about a real winner of a mother… All I’m saying is that if nobody wants to sacrifice anything to have a family, well, then maybe that couple should just really think about that and realize that maybe they don’t need to have kids. It’s a huge responsibility. Huge! And one that fewer and fewer seem to take even remotely seriously.

avatar Flake August 21, 2012, 1:49 pm

What I don’t get is that everybody seems to think of children as a necessary evil. Kids are not a burden on the society, they are an asset. What people do not realize is the fact that a healthy society needs children. No matter how over-populated the world in your opinion, children in India, or China, or Africa are not the ones that are going to support you in retirement. They are not the ones that are going to generate income taxes to pay for your pension and Medicare.
I think it is about time people stopped treating children like little annoyances, and started looking at them as an investment in their own future.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 1:57 pm

When I was born, the world population was the highest it had even been. And it’s DOUBLED in my lifetime. That is insane! Overpopulation is slowly killing the planet. There’s no shortage of people on the planet. It might actually be a good idea to stop breeding like rats… And start saving money instead of depending on future generations to take care of you.

(Okay, considering my own finances, I probably don’t have much credibility as far as that last statement, admittedly. That said, suicide is my present retirement plan. If I don’t turn things around — I’m not looking to live of the backs of the future generation.)

PS: Anybody who is expecting medicare to be around in forty or so years is seriously kidding themselves sadly.

avatar Flake August 21, 2012, 2:34 pm

Do you truly believe that the society would be better off if everybody stopped having children?

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 2:39 pm

Not everybody, but just those who didn’t really want them to begin with. They tend to be lousy parents, who tend to raise lousy adults.

avatar Clare August 21, 2012, 2:57 pm

You can want kids and a career at the same time. All your comments seem to imply that they’re mutually exclusive when that just isn’t true.

katie katie August 21, 2012, 3:58 pm

this might not be a popular opinion, but YES, very much so, i think society would be better off if many many people stopped having children. not everone, just A LOT of people.

avatar Flake August 21, 2012, 4:09 pm

I wonder if you consider yourself one of those worthy of procreating…

katie katie August 21, 2012, 4:56 pm

its not an issue of worth, it is simply a matter of numbers. our planet and our societies/economies cannot support the insane amount of people who are being produced.

avatar ele4phant August 21, 2012, 5:31 pm

Still, if its a matter of numbers, SOMEONE has to stop procreating, and who gets the power to decide who gets to and who doesn’t?

The answer: no one. No one has the right or authority to make that kind of decision for others. Should effort be made to increase women’s education and birth control? Yes, its already been demonstrated that such measures, women will gladly reduce their fertility. In most countries where these already exists, birth rates are usually neutral, or even negative.

katie Katie August 21, 2012, 7:22 pm

Oh i thought we were talking generally. I think it’s painfully obvious that there would be no way to actually get people to stop having kids.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson August 21, 2012, 8:02 pm

Katie – ditto.

Imsostartled Imsostartled August 21, 2012, 3:12 pm

You need to stop talking like that NOW! Suicide is not something to “joke” about, and even if you’re seriously thinking about it, it is not something to address in this manner. Of course, I believe that you shouldn’t commit suicide, of course I think there is probably so much (friends, family, life) that you would miss out on if you acted on this impulse, but you already know all of what I would say. I’m not sure if these past few months that you’ve been indicating that suicide is on your plan or an option for you are just a cry for help or what, but you need to stop discussing it on an “anonymous” forum and actually get some professional help.

As a person who is prone towards depression and as someone whose struggled with thoughts like these in the past, it is extremely distressing for me to have you talk like this about suicide. You have us very worried Mark and there is really nothing we can do for you (besides tell you not to and give you advice) since this is the internet and most of us don’t know you in person. Please get the help you obviously need in order to move past these thoughts… and that wasn’t a dig on you, we all need help sometimes.

I’m sorry if that sounded harsh, I didn’t intend it to be, but I’m extremely concerned for your safety.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 4:24 pm

Look, I’m not joking about it. But fear not, I’m NOT going to kill myself anytime in the near future. It would devastate my family and probably kill my sister… So I shall carry on. For a good long while, anyway.

But at some point, as I get older (like say, 70 or so) it seems most like I will have to do something drastic — I have no savings. There are seemingly no jobs. Admittedly, I’ve made a lot of bad choices career wise, and so there isn’t going to be a retirement for me other than death. Sadly, I think many of our generations will find themselves in the same exact boat.

But thank you for your concern. I genuinely do appreciate it. Thank you.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 4:32 pm

And I’m not trying to be flip here… I definitely battle with what I know is undiagnosed depression…Which is so much fun once you have lost your insurance and what not.

avatar Flake August 21, 2012, 1:59 pm

And also when I you think of it, children are the last repressed group. They have no voice, they are almost invisible. I wonder what would happen if just once someone counted their opinion too.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 3:01 pm

More parents would probably stay at home for starters…

avatar Eagle Eye August 21, 2012, 1:15 pm

Ok, a couple of things – I think that I’ve relayed this in the forums, but for the sake of this argument and for the fact that my boyfriend and I are currently in grad school and would both like this to mean that we can also be allowed to have children one day:

I would like to point out at the beginning that my boyfriend and I both adore our parents and think that we both managed to turn out pretty well (good?) and are generally happy, healthy and hardworking

1. My mother veered from being a working mom, to a stay at home mom to a working mom part time to a work from home mom. She was clear that when my sister and I were babies, leaving the house to go to work a few days a week saved her sanity. She loved us, but being around babies all day was kinda hellish for her – we had wonderful babysitters and preschool – and she was allowed to talk to adults during the day. A happy and sane mom means happy and sane babies.

2. As my sister and I grew older, she started talking on projects to work from home. My mother also happens to be brilliant, btw, and we liked that she was still using her mind, and she felt useful, which we liked as well.

3. My mom turned into a SAHM when my sister and I were in middle school and high school, it was partially to manage us and to take care of her aging parents. Sadly, when my sister and I left for college and my grandfather passed away, my mom realized that she no longer had anything else to do. She had been out of the work force for too long, and she is BORED and MISERABLE and I HATE IT! I would give anything for my mom to once again have a sense of purpose. She’s trying but its really tough.

4. My boyfriend grew up with nannies while his mom was a VP of a multi-national company (his dad always worked too). He adores his mother and will tell you that he was happier when she was happily working in a job she loved.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 1:44 pm

Thank you for this. My mom worked the whole time I was growing up too. Unfortunately for her, it was at a job she hated, but she did it because my dad was kind of unstable and someone had to bring home a regular paycheque.

Turns out, she was a great mom! Shocking, I know. But not once did I need her and she wasn’t there for me. So please don’t pretend it’s impossible, or that the kids are going to turn out completely messed up. You’re insulting my mom and thousands upon thousands of others with that kind of ignorant statement.

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 1:51 pm

To add to all the benefits you’re listing, Eagle Eye, I’d just like to say that having blue collar parents both at work taught me some serious values. I learned the value of very hard work, and I saw from an example that women could and should be successful in their careers. It inspired me, and I kind of think she’s a superwoman. She showed me what it was like to be a strong woman and how to navigate issues at work. She taught me so much by her being at work, and I appreciate it deeply. The extra time I spent with my grandparents did not hurt at all, and I turned out five times better because of it.

avatar Eagle Eye August 21, 2012, 3:59 pm

Yes! I was also taken care of by my grandparents regularly when my mom was working – which was just awesome all around – they were some of the most loving and lovely people my parents could have surrounded me with – plus, as the first grandchild, I could not have been loved and adored more. I really don’t think that I can really complain about being given attention and affection as a child.

Imsostartled Imsostartled August 21, 2012, 4:55 pm

Thanks for your post! My mom was a single mom since I was 4 when my dad became a major alcoholic and because of the situation had to divorce him, because of this she had to work 2-3 jobs to pay for the house (which he put a secret second mortgage on), her debts (also due to secret loans he incurred) and for the three of us (no child support). So sufficed to say she was gone, a lot, but get this I never once felt abandoned by her, never once felt like she wasn’t active in my life because when she was there she always made us a priority. She juggled her jobs to come to any school or sports event of ours and over all was just an exceptional mom. I aspire to have her drive and guts, I don’t know how she was able to handle that and all the other crap we had to go through, but she did. Also, when my dad got treatment and was sober she let him back into our lifes and never said terrible things about him (note – don’t do this to kids!) like I see so often between exes.

I’m now 27, have a great job, husband, life and I attribute that to my mom who much more then most other mothers/fathers. My brothers’ are very succesful in their lives too, so it is very possible to have a working parent(s) and not be at a disadvantage.

From what I said, don’t get the idea I don’t support SAHM’s. I believe in the right to choose what you believe is the best for your family, but I definately DON’T believe that you SHOULDN’T have kids unless one of you can stay at home.

Imsostartled Imsostartled August 21, 2012, 4:59 pm

*works much more then most other mothers/fathers

avatar LMB August 21, 2012, 2:53 pm

Okay- I’m probably focusing on a minute point of your post, but really… a wholehearted “Bravo!” only to the dads? What? Women should rightfully take their place in the home, but men get special commendation for parenting?

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 5:00 pm

No, no, no. And now, for the record, I say BRAVO to stay at home mom’s, too. But Stay At Home Dad’s seem to take even more abuse from society than stay at home moms these days. Then again, nobody calls SAHDs “baby ovens” so maybe they are equally given tough roads to hoe.

avatar Mrs. Kennedy August 22, 2012, 2:31 pm

Some people are more suited to childcare than pursuing a career, some people are more effective at work outside the home and are quite literally more sane working outside the home than staying with the kid(s) all day. But one of the most important reasons for a woman to keep one foot in the working world is that husbands die, leave, cheat, or disappear every day, and if you are utterly dependent on that man to keep your world together then you’re in a shitload of trouble if you’ve got no means of your own when he goes. Every woman should have a way of making her own money, for her own good and the good of her children, and if this doesn’t fit in with your fantasy of “maybe you shouldn’t have had the baby to begin with” (and I don’t even want to START with birth control failing, religious/family pressure to bring a pregnancy to term even if you’re in a failing relationship and a baby is the last thing you need right now) maybe your fantasy needs to change to reflect what actually happens in women’s lives.

avatar Kay August 21, 2012, 12:18 pm

Many people try to put this in a political Dems vs. Repubs situation. I think it’s worse than that. It transcends political party, as both sides are equally guilty (and I speak as an Independent). Rape is seen by many people, regardless of race, political affiliation, age, creed, as something a woman brings upon herself. We wouldn’t still be fighting that stigma if that weren’t the case.
I know several people, on both sides of the spectrum, that said I overreacted when I called out a guy on making a rape joke. When did a topic like rape become suitable fodder? Why is it appropriate? Moreover, why do people try to make it appropriate? Like that comedian a little bit back, Daniel Tosh. Sure, it’s his comedy show, he can make the jokes he wants, but for several people to defend him for saying how funny it would be for the girl to get gang raped right there? It wasn’t cool.
My point is, it’s a societal issue, and it needs to stop. Parents need to teach their kids that it’s just not okay. Women shouldn’t be afraid of calling men out on it. And everyone should learn that some topics should never be used as “humor.”

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 12:23 pm

Here, Here.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 12:30 pm

I found this article interesting on the different kinds of rape and how they are viewed by society:


avatar Clare August 21, 2012, 1:36 pm

Yeah, this isn’t just a liberal vs. conservative thing. These are issues that hopefully ALL women care about. There are so many different expectations that it is impossible to fulfill them all and it seems like EVERYONE feels like they have the right to comment on, critique, and even control women’s choices on so many issues.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 1:56 pm

I was talking on another forum about the concept of “rape is rape”, regardless of all these different definitions of rape. I was surprised to learn that in many US states, the statutory rape laws don’t have a close-in-age exemption. This means, for example, a 19-year-old could go to jail for having consensual sex with a 17-year-old.

There are a couple of major problems with this. First, obviously, is that this poor 19-year-old is jailed and branded a sex offender for life for something that most of us would not consider an offence. Second, and very important, is that now there are actions that are legally defined as rape, which most people would not consider to be rape. This muddies the waters, and leaves openings for people to start saying “well, that’s not rape-rape”. It essentially waters down the definition of rape.

It’s definitely something that this idiot Akin is taking advantage of, to use this category of “legitimate rape”, which doesn’t include statutory rape, because statutory rape isn’t always “rape-rape”. Of course, that ignores all the children who actually are raped, but hey, I’m sure they’ll enjoy having their own uncle’s baby, or whatever.

Jessibel5 Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 2:58 pm

There was another politician who said something to the effect of that he hoped that the Dr. would sit the woman down and ask her questions about the state of her marriage, as to whether there was a rape or “normal marital relations” or something like that. I’m paraphrasing and should really go get the article before making any points about it, but I do remember that my reaction was “even if it;s my HUSBAND, rape is rape.” For anyone to force themselves into your body without your consent, or in a manner that is manipulative, is rape.

KKZ KKZ August 21, 2012, 2:41 pm

Not to mention that rape is seen by many people as something that only happens to women – that women are always the victim, men are always the perpetrator.

Men can be, and are, victims of rape – I know it’s not relevant to the rape/pregnancy/abortion discussion, but I still think it’s something that should be included in this discussion of what “legitimate” rape is. Male victims of rape and sexual assault have been fighting for a long time for their experiences to be “legitimate” in the eyes of the public and the law (many legal definitions of rape, or studies conducted to determine rape statistics, only include penetration, not envelopment, for example).

avatar Kristen August 21, 2012, 12:20 pm

Love this. It’s so well-written. Go Wendy!

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 12:25 pm

The fact is that right now the Republicans have pretty much declared a war on women and the gays… Like it or not… Almost any intelligent piece on being a woman is going to address the alarmingly focus shifts to Republican party platform… There is a reason that many life long Republicans (like both my own parents) are abandoning the party in droves.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 12:42 pm

I would definitely agree with this. It seems the RR (religious right) has been spreading its claws into the party and making the entire political focus on their f’ed up social views. I’m surprised that some of my friends (and yes, i know gays that are republicans) are able to continue to identify with the party when they are being so blatantly attacked.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 1:57 pm

I hope that’s true. If more guys like Akin start saying what they really think, it will help conservatives to see that the Republican party doesn’t necessarily represent their interests anymore.

avatar SpaceySteph August 22, 2012, 1:50 pm

It’s true. I’ve always considered myself a moderate, and have voted for Republicans before in some state/local elections. BUT as these conservative Christians are taking over the political party, it has gone from possible to highly likely that a vote for a Republican on basically any level is going to turn into a vote for a religious-based moral agenda. A person running for office cannot depend on Republican party support if they won’t stand up and say something truly stupid about my reproductive system.
Which means I have to be a democrat now, because the freedom to do what I want with my uterus is way more important than other political agendas I might have.

Lianne Lianne August 21, 2012, 12:26 pm

So well said. Thank you.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 12:28 pm

Very well said, Wendy.

My insurance policy currently* (i realize this may change in January if Obama stays) won’t cover well woman exams, only the pap smear itself. I work for the state so I have the same insurance as every teacher and state worker where I live. When asked why in an employee question they said that the exam itself wasn’t necessary and that it had to do with paying for birth control. Makes me so angry. Apparently the only thing a pelvic exam is good for is getting birth control, absolutely not necessary to diagnose anything else, like say ovarian cysts, which I am predisposed to.

I saw an arguement on facebook the other day in regards to abortions and the law that they tried to pass in MS earlier this year or this past fall I can’t remember when the law was voted on. The WOMAN was saying that people shouldn’t be able to practice IVF unless they were going to donate the fertilized eggs that weren’t used because destroying them was destroying life. Just the eggs that they chose not to/didn’t have to use for the process. The eggs and sperm of the two parents, they should just donate them to whoever or they shouldn’t be able to proceed with IVF.

avatar ktfran August 21, 2012, 12:46 pm

Don’t even get me started on birth control. I don’t need it to be free, necessarily, but I think it should be covered under insurance, or a co-pay. It’s not everywhere. When I lived in Florida, insurance companies were not required to cover it and I had to pay $50+ per month. More than $600/year so I wouldn’t get pregnant. That’ nuts.

I try to stay independant, but honestly, with what’ been going on, this year I’m voting solely on women’s issues. People like Akin make my skin crawl.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 1:25 pm

“…this year I’m voting solely on women’s issues.”

I think what you’re saying is really significant. It’s like Romney cut his losses with women when he chose Ryan. The talking heads are griping on about how we should be focusing on the economy, not the war on women (see below for my thoughts on THAT) and meanwhile the policies being promoted by Ryan and his ilk are the WHOLE reason people who would’ve given a plethora of issues equal or near-equal,weight are turning into single issue voters!

avatar ktfran August 21, 2012, 2:39 pm

I also love how every time someone opens their mouth saying something ignorant about women, or doing something stupid, money is poured into the opposition. For instance, people are sending money to McCaskill because of this. And Akin is staying in the race. Idiot. Also, with Susan G. Komen pulling funds from Planned Parenthood. PP had a huge influx of private donations.

Don’t underestimate women. And don’t alienate a huge portion of the population because, as TaraMonster and Kate B reiterated, we notice and will make appropriate decisions.

Kate B. Kate B. August 21, 2012, 3:18 pm

I’m sure it comes as a huge shock to them that people are calling them out on their shit. We have long memories.

avatar Eagle Eye August 21, 2012, 4:26 pm

I mean, we’re half of the population! Its not like you can just piss off half of the population and think that you’ll be okay…

“bangs head against keyboard”

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 6:50 pm

@Eagle Eye: We are already more than half of the population (not the mention the badass majority of Olympic medal winners :)) and apparently patriarchal bastards don’t worry/care about what us silly girls think!

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 3:13 pm

I like how the Republicans refuse to acknowledge despite tons of evidence to the contrary that “women’s issues” DIRECTLY IMPACT the economy! Rocket science I know… but things like family planning, and equal pay, do have a connection to the stability of the workforce, education, family, etc. etc.

Kate B. Kate B. August 21, 2012, 1:31 pm

I think a lot of people will be voting on issues. I was a happy independent for a long time. I didn’t want to join one group or the other because I believed in voting for the right person for the job, whether that person was a Democrat, Republican, Green or any other affiliation. But, after G.W. Bush came to power (again) I became a card-carrying Democrat, because I believed (and continue to believe) that the best way to keep the Republicans out of power is to join their opposition. My voting strategy has unfortunately become, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

avatar SpaceySteph August 22, 2012, 1:57 pm

I was talking to my grandmother a few years ago, and she said that the last time she voted FOR a person for president (rather than against their opponent) was to vote for JFK. Now, whatever your opinions on him aside, it’s pretty sad that in the last 50 years my grandmother has not seen another presidential candidate that she wanted to vote for, rather than choosing the lesser of two evils.
That’s all we do anymore, is pick the least bad option.

avatar va-in-ny August 21, 2012, 2:13 pm

As soon as that birth control thing in August went into action, I got an IUD put in as fast as I could. Last year, it was going to cost me $950.00 and this year, it was covered 100%. So now I’m set for the next 5 years. Since the future of this issue is still so far into the unknown, I didn’t want to take any chances.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 2:16 pm

yeah my insurance goes from january to january so it hasn’t ‘updated’ yet. i just want to be able to get a well woman visit covered i’ll pay the $10 a month for my stupid birth control if i have to. but the visit should be covered imo. i’m glad you were able to make use of it though!

Kate B. Kate B. August 21, 2012, 3:16 pm

Yeah, I am so glad I got my tubes tied when I did, because who knows when that will be illegal.

katie Katie August 21, 2012, 5:22 pm

Im so jealous your iud was covered!!

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 12:28 pm

Bravo, Wendy!

I got chills reading this.

Lianne Lianne August 21, 2012, 12:32 pm

Me too! Goosebumps all over.

avatar ktfran August 21, 2012, 12:40 pm

I third this. Seriously. Great piece Wendy.

avatar ebstarr August 21, 2012, 12:30 pm

Brava Wendy. I don’t comment much here but this is an impassioned, necessary, moving plea for solidarity in favor of human rights, and I hope everyone on the internet reads it.

avatar sarolabelle August 21, 2012, 12:31 pm

Life must be completely different in NYC. It must be a completely different culture like people say. Here in Houston life is not like that. People do not call out to you on the street. People mind their own business and half the time are so self absorbed they don’t have time to look to see if cars are coming down the street before they cross, much less call out to women.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 12:35 pm

personally i think it just plays out in different ways. i live in the semi-deep south and while I might not get cat called while walking home things like this still happen. Like when you go in to the store to buy fishing equipment and the men ask ‘little darlin’ (I’m 30 and not little, haha) if she needs help figuring out what to buy, or they ask my husband and not me (he knows next to nothing about outdoor stuff, haha) what we want even though I’m the one trying to get their attention. Dammit I know what kind of worms we want and how many. I don’t need help figuring it out.

avatar sarolabelle August 21, 2012, 12:55 pm

Well it is similar to if you and your hubby went into a sewing store. They would most likely greet you first and ask you the questions. That doesn’t have to do with women equality but gender profiling – which has been around for as long as I’ve been alive.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 1:10 pm

so my second example could happen to him too. but, it doesn’t stop the fact that i get this treatment from almost every male anywhere i go. i get called little darlin or sweetie or baby (ugh when grown men call me this i want to throw something at them) on a regular basis. and it gets brushed off as the way they grew up, they’re being gentleman, etc.

avatar Lydia August 21, 2012, 1:12 pm

Gender profiling is sexist and wrong too, though.

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 1:23 pm

Yeah, just because it’s “always” been around doesn’t make it OK.

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 2:06 pm

Ugh, jlyfsh, that same thing happens to me ALL THE TIME! When I look at anything in a sporting goods store or a bait shop, I’m totally ignored. The workers will look at my SO or my dad if I’m with them and ask THEM what I’m looking for. I had a major issue with this when I was trying to buy a new archery target last winter. My dad doesn’t know a single thing about archery at all, but he happened to be in the store with me. When I asked an employee to get a target off of the top shelf for me, he walked down the aisle to ask my dad if that was really what I needed because blahblahblah, when my dad was completely staying out of the conversation. I had to tell the employee that I was the customer, not my dad. Ridiculous.

avatar painted_lady August 21, 2012, 7:14 pm

Agreed that it plays out in different ways, though I’ve definitely been cat called on the street in Houston when I lived there and now in Galveston. I think part of the reason that it’s less the stereotypical “Hey, hot stuff!” in Houston is because most people drive rather than walk, and it’s harder to cat call when you’re both in a car. Most of the time when it’s happened to me, I’m on foot and the guys are in a car or up on a balcony or something. A couple of months ago my neighbor threw a party and after he and his boys were good and drunk, some of the nastiest shit I’ve ever heard started falling out of their mouths at the women walking below our shared roof deck, and it’s true that drunk guys seem to be worst around here, which makes me think that it’s there and just hidden.

avatar MertleJ August 21, 2012, 12:49 pm

I live in chicago, and was walking around in my neighborhood the other day (wearing work out gear, if that makes a difference), and I passed this group of boys who looked like they were 18 or 19- as they walked past, one of them loudly says “yeah, i’d ride that” and then they all started laughing. i just kept walking, but it makes me so angry that not only do I have to hear crap like that, I’m afraid to react- I don’t want to confront them, call them out on their behavior, or call more attention to myself, even when it is in the middle of the day and there are people everywhere.

It is frustrating, it is pathetic, and it is demeaning. And it is just my everyday reality.

avatar sarolabelle August 21, 2012, 12:58 pm

I’ve never been to Chicago either but now when I visit I will only visit with my husband and never go anywhere alone.

avatar MertleJ August 21, 2012, 1:01 pm

ugh, you know what really irritated me? Thinking “they would NEVER say that to me if my husband were here.”

…next time I may just go all crazy lady on them and start screaming and chasing them down the street. Let’s see how they like it.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 1:06 pm

that fact is very very sad. the point of Wendy’s story is that you should be able to walk down a street or go to the coffee shop alone and not be scared.

avatar MsMisery August 21, 2012, 1:34 pm

You don’t need to be in a big city to be harassed. I live in Chicago too, but I had this happen when I went to visit my grandmother in NY (not NY City, in a very rural part of the western state- they still have Amish people there). I was out for a walk and a guy called to me from his porch. I was so uncomfortable I wondered if I needed to change my walk route or carry a weapon. In a place with a population of less than 300…

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 1:01 pm

The honking scrap truck drivers make me want to punch someone

avatar bethany August 21, 2012, 1:44 pm

The people who honk and yell when I’m out running make me want to bash their skulls in. Seriously, people- what happened to just LEAVING PEOPLE ALONE?!

avatar ChemE August 21, 2012, 1:56 pm

I was out running yesterday and had a guy honk at me, but in a “go girl” sort of way. And then a guy came out of his house and pretty sure he started yelling something at me. I run with headphones, so I can drown out any distractions, but if I can hear you over those (not exactly what he was saying) what are you doing?

avatar Lydia August 21, 2012, 1:13 pm

The being scared to respond is definitely the worst part of it. It makes one feel so powerless.

avatar j2 August 21, 2012, 1:19 pm

Chicago, Republican stronghold, eh?

avatar Trixy Minx August 21, 2012, 4:20 pm

I’ve had a group of guys do that before. I was at the gym and i had my headphones in so they probably thought i couldn’t here but I saw them look at me and say “yeah, i’d hit that.” It felt so violating. That is nice that i’m “fuckable” but you would never ever have a chance with me.

avatar painted_lady August 21, 2012, 7:37 pm

My standard response to a comment like that – not that I hear it a lot, but still, is always, “Yeah, but I wouldn’t. Thanks for playing.”

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 12:49 pm

I live in NYC. I’ve lived in NY all my life (w a brief foray into LA, only a few months)- and I can attest to what Wendy is saying.

I have an arms length list of crazy shit that has happened to me. I once was chased though Herald Sq bc I ignored a man saying something disgusting to me, so he started cursing me out and following me. And that kind of thing happens to me EVERY DAY. It happened to me this morning. I can’t walk down my own block without getting comments. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many of my friends have been followed, groped, and/or cursed out.

I love my city, but street harassment is a real effing problem.

avatar sarolabelle August 21, 2012, 12:57 pm

I’m sorry NY is so different than Houston. I’ve never been to NYC so I don’t know how it is.

avatar Trixy Minx August 21, 2012, 4:22 pm

Tara, you should start carrying pepper spray and spray those mofo next time they wanna get touchy!

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 12:55 pm

Yeah, I am out all the time on the streets of LA and I can’t say I’ve ever even heard a woman being ruthlessly catcalled… Maybe I just don’t hear it? I dunno, it’s odd as I love eavesdropping on random conversations as I walk around — hey, it’s inspiring for my writing, so I am pretty in tune with what is happening around me… I suppose it could be because I live in a hip, urban area where most seem fairly enlightened… But maybe this is more of an east coast thing?

LA Ladies? What are your thoughts?

avatar Samantha August 21, 2012, 1:08 pm

I hear it when I’m biking from passing motorists.
I hear it when I’m hiking in Topanga Canyon, and doubly in Griffith Park.
I heard it walking to Oil Can Harry’s in my cowboy hat just a couple weeks ago.
Of course, I hear it on the beach (and I am usually still in my biking gear, not even in a swimsuit).
I hear it at my weekend job at a movie theater, when I’m wearing an oversized uniform.
I hear it walking to the food trucks from my office job in Santa Monica.

I also hear it when I’m walking through my town of 40,000 in Illinois.
I’ve heard it in Iowa, walking to an internship in Davenport.
I heard it walking to the L on a winter’s day in my puffy coat in Chicago, every day.

As far as my experience goes, it’s everywhere, in lots of contexts, no matter how I look or what I’m wearing. I’m over it.

Thank you, Wendy, for writing this.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 2:45 pm

Interesting. Frankly, I wish more guys noticed me. Period… I could use the self esteem boost as I am increasingly invisible.. Ah, yes, I am in a bit of a rut… The joys of hitting 40 and being depressed.

None of my girl friends ever bitch to me about this though, I’ll ask around a bit. Hmmm, maybe they are all “too old” now for this to happen. Not by my standards, by the way, but LA’s. This is one hard town…

avatar Val August 21, 2012, 2:57 pm

I’m in LA and I never hear it.
I must be really ugly. :(

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 3:19 pm

No, I doubt that. I honestly don’t see how I could be THAT oblivious to this…

avatar Samantha August 21, 2012, 3:52 pm

Yeah, I’m probably making this all up. Or overly sensitive. Yeah… that’s how it works in the current social climate, right?

Honestly, I think part of it, like they are saying down thread, has to do with how much people drive versus walk. Most people in LA drive everywhere. I bike and walk as much as possible because I hate driving, and in West LA it’s possible to go without a car more frequently than it is in Hollywood or the valley. I also like to do things by myself – not hiking, obviously, but trips to the store, bike rides, etc. Mark, I know you’re probably going to call me out this “unsafe” behavior, but I do travel outside, in the day, and I always let someone know where I’m going (and, more often than not, my route).
Most catcalls come from creeps calling out from their cars, from what I’ve experienced.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 4:48 pm

What? No, I never meant to suggest any of that. My best guess is that you are probably simply pretty good looking. It’s not all fun being gorgeous… I know this from experience. Not my own, but my girl friends…

Lili Lili August 21, 2012, 4:54 pm

See, I think thats a common misconception, That catcalls have anything to do with looks. I mean, women in full on burkas in the middle east get catcalled. I think there is just something present in some stupid males (and usually more so when they’re in groups )that thinks they as macho men have the right to say such things to women. And its sad.

BTW my fav NYC catcall depiction is the one where Miranda in SATC confronts the construction worker and is all like, ok, lets do it! And he’s all like WOAH lady back down, I’m married.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 5:13 pm

I agree it has nothing to do with looks and no woman no matter how long it’s been since she’s been on a date feels good after getting one.

And I love that scene!!!

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 5:17 pm

I guess. Honestly though, if one of my biggest problems was macho guys hooting and otherwise implying they wanted to fuck me each and every time I walked down a city street, I’d probably often arrive at my destination in a much better mood. Seriously, lately I could use the validation. ANY validation.

That was a great scene with Miranda, BTW.

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 5:25 pm

If you were a small female, you’d probably feel vulnerable and unsafe instead of sexy. I get why you would think that, because you haven’t experienced it yourself, but catcalls aren’t compliments. Usually it’s more like sexual harassment, and it’s meant to make women feel objectified and unsafe. That’s the purpose of it. It’s not like “You’re very beautiful today.” It’s more like “I’d like to see that beautiful face on your knees in front of me.” When random men give me compliments, I feel very flattered, and I’ll probably never forget them. When a random man catcalls though – it makes me want to clutch my keys, look down, and walk faster.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 5:29 pm

exactly theattack and telling women that if it was you it would make you feel good almost makes it seem like they are the problem. like if they could just laugh it off it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. but, it is a big deal. and it doesn’t make you feel good at all. because like you said the purpose isn’t meant to encourage you or raise your self esteem it’s meant to make you feel like a piece of meat.

call-me-hobo call-me-hobo August 21, 2012, 5:38 pm

One catcall I’ve gotten was from a man who yelled that he wanted to kick my teeth in so I could suck his dick all night long.

It didn’t put me in a better mood. I didn’t feel validated. I felt unsafe- I was walking alone to my car after a night class at my college. Catcalls are all about power. That dude got his rocks off by me being flustered and scared.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 5:38 pm

You can’t control the actions of others. But you can control your reactions to them. Sometimes, it really is that simple. Hey, this is how I got through an entire childhood of being called — FAGGOT on often a daily basis.

avatar ele4phant August 21, 2012, 5:44 pm

Mark, you’ve been trolling us the last few days, right?

Seriously, speak not of what you do not know. Just because YOU would welcome random cat-calls, don’t think that the 5-2, 120lb when soaking wet girl is going to just “control her reaction” when some skeevy and threatening guys hits on her.

call-me-hobo call-me-hobo August 21, 2012, 5:53 pm

I don’t get it, BGM. I didn’t engage this guy. I was walking to my car after class and this guy decides to slow down and yell at me. I don’t respond- he continues to follow me. Thank god he didn’t follow me into the parking lot.

As a woman I’m expected to let catcalls and threatening statements “roll off of my back”, but I’m also expected not to “put myself” into a rape situation? I mean, when I’m walking by myself and it’s getting dark, I’m going to treat a threat as a threat.

That catcall, and most catcalls, are just that- a threat. A “Hey, bitch, if I really wanted to I could get out of this car and do what I wanted to you.”

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 5:56 pm

Suddenly, every catcall is now a threat to death? Obviously, I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about what I assumed was the much more usual routine whistles of “Woo-Hee! Look at that!” That’s all I’m talking about. That’s all I was joking about.

Honestly, I thought that it was rather obvious from the tone of the post in question that I was joking and trying to bring humor to the situation. Here are my words again…

“I guess. Honestly though, if one of my biggest problems was macho guys hooting and otherwise implying they wanted to fuck me each and every time I walked down a city street, I’d probably often arrive at my destination in a much better mood. Seriously, lately I could use the validation. ANY validation.”

I mean, come on! How much more obvious do I have to be when I am being wry? Perhaps it was my ad nauseum use of the word, seriously? I don’t know… But do I really need to add a YES I AM BEING SARCASTIC AFTER EACH AND EVERY SUCH POST?

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 6:04 pm

hobo, First of all, that’s an absolutely horrifying catcall. I’m so sorry that happened to you. You must have been so scared. :(

re: “Hey, bitch, if I really wanted to I could get out of this car and do what I wanted to you.”

That’s EXACTLY what they’re meant to say! They’re supposed to put us in our place. It’s almost like those men substitute catcalls for acting on urges of sexual violence.

BGM, We do control our reactions to them. We have to because it’s a way to protect ourselves. That’s why most of us walk on, avoid eye contact, and then look behind us to make sure none of them are following us. Occasionally a woman gets brave and confronts the offenders, but it’s rare. We almost always do control our reactions to the catcalls, but that doesn’t make it any less threatening or any more acceptable for them to do it. You’re basically telling us to shut up and take them without complaint.

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 6:08 pm

I knew you were being sarcastic. I just didn’t think you understood how scary some of these calls are. Random whistles are still meant to objectify us and claim their dominance over us, but you’re right, they’re not dangerous. It still doesn’t make me feel good though because it’s not like they think I’m something special. They’re just showing off for their buddies.

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 6:18 pm

Honestly, I don’t think those even remotely fit the definitions of catcalls. Those are actual threats. Threats you could call the police over and I highly recommend you do so if it ever happens again in the future. If nothing else, it will give the man in question a record and put them on the police radar. Seriously…

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 7:45 pm

Fair enough, although the police would never take something like that seriously. Heck, off-duty police are often just as guilty of it as everybody else.

avatar Lydia August 22, 2012, 9:00 am

Mark, I really recommend you take a look at the @EverydaySexism feed on Twitter (www.twitter.com/everydaysexism). SO MANY stories of women feeling demeaned and helpless because of catcalls and street harrassment. It really happens much more than you think it does, and it isn’t complimentary.

avatar Jiggs August 21, 2012, 9:47 pm

Word. I got catcalled most when I was 13-14 years old (I was not a looker at that age, you will just have to trust.)

avatar karenwalker February 26, 2013, 4:21 am

Yeah, this is making me feel really unattractive, too.

Also, when my friends and I see a hot guy, we’ll say so. I mean, not to him, but I’m sure we’re not exactly subtle.

avatar karenwalker February 26, 2013, 4:30 am

ok, just saw all the scary threats and stuff. i have never experienced anything like that nor do i know anyone who has. honestly, this is the first i’m even hearing anything like that. that stuff is crazy! just for the record, i’m not sheltered. i grew up in CT, in a suburb of NYC so i spent a lot of time there in high school. i also lived in baltimore for a few years before coming back north.

avatar Amanda November 6, 2012, 11:26 am

WSS! I’m totally over street harassment. It happens everywhere because men like this are everywhere. Not all men are like this of course, but some are. Unfortunately, their behavior diminishes men (and all humans) everywhere.

avatar Sistine August 21, 2012, 1:23 pm

Before I had a car, I used to take the bus. I was repeated whistled at and called out at multiple times walking to the bus stop or just waiting for the bus. It was offensive and demoralizing. I was treated like I was a prostitute just because I was at a bus stop waiting for a bus. I was on my way to work so I was wearing work slacks and a dress shirt, nothing even revealing. But because I was a woman, I had to endure these cat calls every time I left my house. Every single time.

avatar iseeshiny August 21, 2012, 5:07 pm

I used to get it the worst on the bus, too. Or the guys who would demand my number. Sometimes they’d leave me alone when I said no, I have a boyfriend (I didn’t) but sometimes I’d have to sit through the whole bus ride as they tried to convince me that they deserved it, that they just wanted to talk/be my friend, was I mixed, did I wear contacts because I have such light eyes, do I party. It’s not flattering, it’s terrifying.

avatar SpaceySteph August 22, 2012, 2:56 pm

A huge part of the problem is that you felt the need to qualify your story with “I was wearing work slacks and a dress shirt, nothing even revealing.”

Nothing against you, I hope you understand, but the culture surrounding it which says that obviously you were dressed like a slut and asking for it. So it wasn’t really a guy’s fault he chose to treat you like the ho’ you are.

avatar ele4phant August 22, 2012, 3:05 pm

One of the grossest, most explicit catcalls I ever got was when I had the flu and was visibly sick, and was wearing stained disgusting jeans with a hoodie two sizes too large for me (with the hood up, I was desperately trying to cocoon myself away from the elements).

Its not about sex, or giving you a compliment, most of the time. Its about making it known you are a chick with boobs, and men can say whatever they want to you.

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 1:02 pm

I lived in semi-rural PA, mid sized city NC and small town FL and I’ve had the same cat calling and oogling happen in every single place. And going out to bars is even worse- touching and dirty remarks. Ugh. If I’m meeting friends or my fiance I sit in the car and wait until they are there before going into the TGI Fridays in our town because it’s so out of hand.

avatar camorzilla August 21, 2012, 1:07 pm

Does Houston have as much of a walking culture as NYC does though? I would say no (I’ve been to both cities multiple times though have never lived in either). I think that makes a big difference.

avatar sarolabelle August 21, 2012, 2:30 pm

No, people simply drive everywhere. Just today I drove the 1 mile it takes to get from my office building to the mall and it took about 10 minutes (probably the same amount of time if I had walked) but it is 88 degrees here today so the AC in the car was worth it.

I’ve go to places by myself all the time though (the dog park, mall, grocery store, etc) and never had this happen to me. I don’t understand but I think it must have something to do with the way boys are raised.

While in college (I went to the University of Houston) I still didn’t have it there either. I walked all over that campus and no one said anything to me other than a friendly smile.

When I’m in stores asking for help or at restaurants I do get called darlin by some of the clerks. But that doesn’t bother me. This is TX! In fact I think I get called darlin, honey or baby more by women clerks than men clerks.

The only time I feel uncomfortable is when I go to nursing homes with my dog to volunteer. Sometimes the men there like to see me more than the dog and they’ll make me feel uncomfortable by saying things like “you are the most beautiful angel I’ve ever seen” and stuff like that but they are 90 and losing it a little so I let it slide.

avatar sarolabelle August 21, 2012, 2:34 pm

Oh, I do get cat called at the Texas Renaissance Festival but there it is expected.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 1:44 am

Yeah, the Texas RenFest is where all the creepers come out…I still remember the one time I met a very creepy creeper when I was 16 or 17 there.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 21, 2012, 1:10 pm

Well, in Houston everybody spends their lives in their cars – and I’ve had men trying to flirt with me or looking at me in creepy ways in my car. I tend to not look around me when I’m at a light. Just depends on the environment.

avatar ktfran August 21, 2012, 2:22 pm

Yes! It’s not just cat calls. It’s looks you get. When I’m walking – and yes, I live in Chicago – I dread walking by a group of males. Any age. Any ethnicitiy. Sometimes they say something. Sometimes they just stare. Or look you up and down. It’s disturbing and not a fun experience.

This has happened elsewhere too. Not just Chicago.

avatar Slamy August 21, 2012, 1:16 pm

I live in Dallas, and I get cat-called at and otherwise harassed on the street. I’ve had a dude working in a fast food restaurant on my street make a comment to me about my ass. I can’t even walk in my neighborhood at night because there have been multiple females robbed/beaten at night who were walking alone in my neighborhood since I have lived here. It is unfortunately a fact of life and there are even stores (and whole neighborhoods) I won’t go to alone and/or wearing certain outfits.

avatar ChemE August 21, 2012, 1:58 pm

I suppose this is one plus of being unattractive, I never get cat-called.

avatar sarolabelle August 21, 2012, 2:45 pm

yeah, maybe that’s my issue…..

avatar Lindsay August 21, 2012, 2:49 pm

I’ve lived in a lot of different places, small towns, medium-size cities and now New York. Your day-to-day life may not take you to places where men are hanging out on the street, waiting to yell at women, but I’m sure it happens to somebody.

KKZ KKZ August 21, 2012, 3:01 pm

I have this same reaction too. I grew up in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio and went to college there, and have just recently moved to Cincinnati, and I can count the times I’ve been catcalled in either place on one hand. So whenever I see stories of women being catcalled ALL.THE.TIME. like Wendy’s stories here, I have to take them on their word because I just can’t relate to it at all. It doesn’t seem real, it sounds like it must be exaggerated (not saying it is, but that’s just how I perceive it).

That said I’m also a total homebody and never go out alone anyway, and rarely venture into the city, not because I’m scared of it, but because I have no reason to be down there. I live in an apartment complex but have never had issues with anyone in my immediate community or the neighborhood around it. Both places I go for work are also in “safe” suburbs, no issues either place.

I’m not saying it never happens in suburbs, obviously it does, but in my experience, it’s much less frequent. I get the impression from this and other articles that even in “safe” neighborhoods of big cities, a girl can’t make it from her door to the sidewalk without feeling threatened. That shit ain’t right – and just cements in my mind that I never, ever, ever want to live or work in a big city.

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 3:47 pm

I had this moment of being followed from a metro stop in DC by a clearly drunk/high man who kept telling me I was pretty and I should go out with him… I went into my city mode (if walking fast doesn’t work, direct eye contact and thank them for their comments but I’m not interested – the eye contact and satirical thanks tends to put them off) and thanked him and said I wasn’t interested… I did it loud enough that several other men on the street outside of the 7-11 (did I mention this was in a gentrifying, very mixed neighborhood where there are million dollar condos across from housing projects?) started yelling at him to leave me alone because “that white girl is gonna get the cops here.”

I don’t know what is sadder, that it wasn’t really an abnormal part of my day, or that they thought the only reason the cops would show was because I was white and they were black.

MELH MELH August 21, 2012, 9:54 pm

I live in Cincy too! I work downtown, and it is quite different from my little westside suburb. I can walk around near my house all I want and the most I ever get is a friendly “Hi”. But downtown, totally different story. I get yelled at fairly frequently, actually the other day some guy was going on about my ass while I was walking by. But then again, I work at the Courthouse, which is not exactly a gathering place of the world’s most upstanding citizens. I wouldn’t say it happens every day, but maybe once every couple of weeks.
However, I’ve been to NYC twice in the last few years for a total of 10 days, and in those 10 days I had a couple minor comments (like a cab driver honking his horn) and two kind of scary moments. I was walking with my mom and sister and a guy tried to say something to me, and I ignored him and stepped to the side. He then stepped in front of me and started to bother me again, and when I stepped around him he reached out to grab my arm and I had to yank it out of the way. Another time my sister and I were walking and this guy tried to yell to us, then came running up behind us. I’m sure he meant trying to come up to us and ask us where we were headed as flirty, but it creeped the hell out of me and my sister.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 12:33 pm

Wendy- Rock the fuck on, girl!

And now I’ll go read the comments. :)

avatar Addie Pray August 21, 2012, 1:53 pm


TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 2:15 pm


avatar Addie Pray August 21, 2012, 2:17 pm

(It’s like earning your DW stripes when you get a “W_S”, right? Haha.)

Fabelle Fabelle August 21, 2012, 12:37 pm

Hellllllll yeah! Thank you for writing this, Wendy. It is seriously mind-boggling to see people– especially women– make statements about how we all need to “stop focusing on these things” when “these things” involve the rights of over 50% of the nation.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 12:59 pm

Honestly. I was saying this last night to my boyfriend. I keep hearing this line that we need to be focusing on the economy, not the war on women.

Ok. So then why has the tea party wasted so much time and tax dollars introducing strawman legislation on women’s bodies- most of which doesn’t have a chance in hell of passing??!!!

But what REALLY gets me is this- when women in a society are able to control their reproductive health, they are more likely to be educated and have overall higher lifetime earnings than in societies where women do NOT have those options (just look at recent US history, for example; it’s a relatively recent development that women have any form of equal rights in the scope of world history as well). So limiting their rights and abilities to access basic health care HURTS the American economy by making it more difficult for half the population to be economically successful!

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 21, 2012, 1:15 pm

Exactly! If we’re supposed to be focusing on the economy, then why are the Republicans all up in our business?? I get that the economy is important, but I think social issues are extremely important as well, including women’s rights. I would most likely end up voting for the person who is more in line with my way of thinking on social issues because those are important – those influence the economy as well. If we give more tax breaks to the rich and tax the poor more – then how are the poor ever going to stop being poor and spend their money in the economy?? Everything is related.

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 1:48 pm

My fiance and I had a conversation about the “focus on the economy” line last night too. I read an article on CNN by a Republican woman (an opinion peice) about why women should vote Republican and it was all about “focus on the economy”. I was like “hello? What about my vagina? It’s a pretty big part of my life…I’d like to put a little focus on keep my rights to it too!”

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 1:58 pm

I LOLed at your vagina being a pretty big part of your life.

Mine too, girl, mine too. Haha.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 12:42 pm

There is so much that is true about this. And what Representative Akin said is just appauling. But i think where he got messed up is trying to see the world as black and white. I think both sides of the issue run to thier corners and don’t really look at just how messy this issue is. It is hard to look at because it is sad at all times. There are desperate, sad women who run to get abortions. IT is rarely used as birth control and people are usually in a dark place when they get there. I think Akin would have a hard time being prochoice when coming face to face with some of these stories. At the same point, when does it turn from “a little bit pregnant” to a baby with thier own rights. I think pro lifers forget how many women died in back alley abortions and how many unwanted children ruined lives. I also think that most pro choice people think that killing a new born baby is appalling but turn a blind eye to third trimester abortions. I think the messy part is what we really need to look at.I think it is time to look at the causes that get women to this place and stop it before it gets to the abortion debate.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 12:44 pm

how many third trimester abortions happen that aren’t for the health of the mother though? they make it seem like women are running out left and right to get third trimester abortions and i believe they account for less than 1% of all abortions (saw this somewhere in something I read) and usually occur to save the life of the mother….

avatar MJ August 21, 2012, 12:54 pm

Agreed. Also, a lot of later term abortions happen when women find out that heir babies have serious physical and mental deformities.

As for the others, if abortion was more accessible, it might not take them until the 3rd trimester to find a way to make it happen.

Skyblossom Skyblossom August 21, 2012, 2:31 pm

I think almost all third trimester abortions are because the baby has severe birth defects. Most of these pregnancies end up in the third trimester because the parents wanted the baby badly and love it and wouldn’t consider an abortion even with birth defects and then they begin to find out the medical treatments their baby will receive and the life their baby will live and it is so horrific and so painful for the baby that the couple will decide that an abortion is the most humane and loving thing that they can do for their baby. Most of these babies are named and loved and the parents want pictures of the baby and footprints and handprints. It is a horribly sad situation with no right answer and adoption doesn’t solve it at all.


avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 12:57 pm

Fair, But is a pregnancy ended at 8 weeks any less said than 16 or 32? And how many abortions are due to rape? 31000 out of 1300000 a year? The point is that each side looks at the worst case and does not look at the ugly middle. How many abortions could be avoided with other social programs in place? I think the line is Accessable, Safe, and Rare. This issue is not black and white.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 12:59 pm

yeah but at the core of the issue is that you or i should not be able to decide what is an acceptable choice is for another woman. if they want to adopt great, if they want to abort that’s their choice. we don’t get to force our own morality on other people, or rather we shouldn’t be able to.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 1:11 pm

i tend to make a lot of mistakes when i get worked up, or i tend to just make a lot of typos, haha. that should read what is an acceptable choice for another woman.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 1:12 pm

I am not saying you are wrong. we live in a free society and this is part of that. However, I think blanket statements like that, brush the real problems under the rug. The same way saying life begins at conception does the same thing. Lets start helping to remedy the causes leading up to this and hopefully abortions would be more rare.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 1:17 pm

that would be great if they were more rare because women had free and open access to birth control. but, if they want to have an abortion you or other voters who feel the same way shouldn’t be able to dictate whether or not that happens. it’s a personal choice. not one you should be able to vote about.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:02 pm

But we do dictate all sorts of body issues. Look at drug policies. We legislate that you can’t do drugs and that goes in your body. you can’t smoke cuban cigars that is illegal for a US citizen. If you murder a pregnant woman you get two counts of homicide. But I feel like it is the all or nothing approach to this that stops real issues from being resolved.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 5:12 pm

well the smoking of Cuban cigars is in no way a health issue,that is an international trade relations issue. And drug policies are in no way the same as birth control or abortions. And murdering a pregnant woman is also different. You can’t compare apples to oranges and say but look we dictate that we should be able to tell people whether or not they can take birth control and whether or not they can have an abortion too.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 5:24 pm

at the end of the day neither side is going to be switched on their view points. you cannot force your moral beliefs on someone else. because after we take this step of saying women shouldn’t be allowed to have an abortion and women shouldn’t be able to use certain birth control methods because it’s too similar to an abortion where is the line drawn? where does government dictating what we can and can’t do stop.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:42 pm

But every law in this country forces moral beliefs on us. murder is wrong and you go to jail. stealing is wrong there are laws. speeding and running red lights is wrong. rape, incest, multiple wives, all these things are forcing a value system on you and me and everyone.

avatar ele4phant August 21, 2012, 5:58 pm

It could be argued that those laws are not moral laws, but are protecting against violations against person or property.

Of course, many pro-choice individuals argue that abortion is murder, and therefore a crime against persons (the unborn ones). In my opinion, while everyone has a right to life, but no one can be forced into supporting that life if they don’t want to. You can’t force someone to donate a kidney to save someone elses life, why can you force a mother to provide life support to a fetus. If the fetus isn’t viable outside of her body, and she doesn’t want to continue the pregnancy, I don’t think she should be forced to.

If that’s against God’s will, well, let him(her?) deal with it when the time comes. Its not our job to legislate morals.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 6:05 pm

elephant exactly, if the fetus can’t survive without the mother then it’s the mother’s choice. not someone else and certainly not a bunch of politicians. and where does the line get drawn with this. do you force women who know they have a baby that won’t/can’t survive outside her womb carry to term? some say yes, and that’s great if that’s the choice they want to make.

and i agree also that the laws mentioned are not moral laws but violation against person and property. if you want to believe that for you abortion is murdering a human and you can’t go through with it, fine. by all means choose another option. but, that doesn’t mean you should be allowed to force a moral belief on someone else.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 1:11 pm

Stats from Guttmacher. After 21 weeks make up 1.5% nationally. This is data from 2008. I’m pretty sure nearly every state has laws preventing abortion after 21 or 24 weeks, with the only exceptions being for the life of the mother or fetal abnormalities that would cause the child to die immediately or soon after a live birth. But I’ll get back to ya on that.


avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 1:15 pm

thanks! yeah i didn’t think they made up a significant portion. and really if there were fetal abnormalities and you were told that the baby was incompatible with life outside of the womb and you no longer wanted to carry the child to term, can you imagine being forced to do so? i mean i can’t imagine being told that the baby wasn’t going to make it, but to then have someone else decide what my choices were would make me crazy.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:11 pm

ok, so if you have 1.5 million us abortions a year. that is 22,500 a year. and considering that 31000 women are raped and become pregnant each year. and if 75% of those are terminated. it is the same %. You can argue the numbers any way you want to. The abortion numbers are very high.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 5:45 pm

so basically you’re saying you have a problem with abortion. which is fine. you can CHOOSE to not have an abortion. i should be able to if i want CHOOSE to have one. and like tara has noted the late term abortions are not used in cases of not wanting the child. it is because of health related issues for either the mother or child. you think you have the right or a politician has the right to tell a mother who has just found out that her child will never live outside her body whether or not she has to carry it to term?

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 9:56 pm

REALLY?? What the hell does this have to do with anything? Look I can do it too:

SO IF 6% of CATS attack their owners a year and 35,000 dogs attempt to maul their owners then it’s THE SAME and like pets are sooo dangerous.

What are you even talking about? I’m so tired of BS false parallels in arguments.

So you’re pro-choice. Well la-dee-da. You still aren’t making any sense.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 9:57 pm

‘scuse me

avatar cporoski August 22, 2012, 7:31 am

I am saying I don’t accept your numbers as an arguement. the same that you don’t accept mine. you made my point. I am pro choice but I am NOT pro abortion. I understand the reason it exists but the number of abortions is shockingly high. I think that people are so quick to defend a “right” that they forget how sad and painful this really is. I think by making this an intellectual or a political idea, people become desensitized to it.

avatar jlyfsh August 22, 2012, 8:19 am

sorry it isn’t just an idea to me. i’ve experienced this multiple times through friends and i firmly believe that in each case they were making the right one for themselves. some were too young to be a parent, some were financially not able to take on parenting, etc. and at the end of the day the thing that was the same for them is they did not want to go through the pregnancy. forcing them to do that would have been just as difficult to deal with mentally as the abortion.

avatar cporoski August 22, 2012, 8:51 am

Right, but I feel like you have attached onto only the anti abortion part of what I was saying. From the beginning, I said that both sides are too entrenched to get any meaningful change done. Every woman who gets an abortion will carry that decision with her until the day she dies. They might not think of it every day but it will never leave them. My arguement is by simply staying in this “political” thinking, noone sees the pain. Women are best served to never have to make that decision. In this day and age, it is easy to avoid it.

avatar jlyfsh August 22, 2012, 9:03 am

it can be avoided, yes, but pregnancy still happens even when using birth control. some could be avoided if it was easier and cheaper to have access to birth control. but, there will still be accidents. and not every woman is going to want to choose adoption. some will still want to choose abortion and they should be able to make the decision that’s right for them. and that is the point, people are making a choice that isn’t political, political. this has nothing to do with politics and shouldn’t. it should be a woman’s choice to either keep the pregnancy or not. not anyone else’s. and she shouldn’t be shamed for getting pregnant in this day and age because it’s so easy to prevent.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 22, 2012, 11:37 am

I wasn’t making an argument. I responded to jelyfsh with stats because she was uncertain about what percentage of abortions occur after 21 weeks. She was pretty close, and I was just letting her know she was remembering the stats correctly.

But to your point about people being desensitized to abortion, I disagree. That would presuppose all people believe abortions are something to be sensitive about. I don’t presume to know how other women feel about their decisions. I’m not sure why you think that people don’t talk about how sad and painful abortions can be- that’s basically the entire platform of anti-choice rhetoric. IMO that’s an effort in shaming women about their choices.

The conversation that maybe needs to be had is that it’s a legal medical procedure, and that it’s OK when you feel relieved after you’ve made a choice that’s right for you and/or your family. That’s the taboo conversation- not what you’re talking about.

avatar bethany August 21, 2012, 1:47 pm

I thought 3rd trimester abortions were illegal unless they were medically required??

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:13 pm

That is partial birth abortions. you can’t take a viable fetus and give birth to it then let it die.

avatar rachel August 21, 2012, 12:51 pm

Thank you Wendy. Seriously, thank you. The state of things in this country is so upsetting, and I’m glad that you wrote this. I know that you typically don’t like to talk politics, but this has risen above politics where our right to live our lives is at stake, just because we happen to have vaginas.

avatar GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 1:08 pm

Kudos Wendy for putting this out there. You’re risking some backlash and I think what you’re doing is admirable.

I firmly believe it is not my place to tell someone what they can and can not do with their body. The comments that have been made by politicians lately are baffling. Keep a tic-tak between your knees for birth control, women’s bodies know how to not get pregnant from rape, etc etc. What?? All people (male and female) should have full controll over their body- reproductively speaking and otherwise.

avatar Lydia August 21, 2012, 1:18 pm

I feel absolutely the same way. Some women might not make the choices I personally would have made, but that’s okay, because it is THEIR choice to make, not mine. The way many (male!) politicians speak about legislating women’s bodies makes me feel sick. And it’s not even happening in my country, so go figure.

avatar kerrycontrary August 21, 2012, 1:22 pm

Nothing to add to what Wendy said. I’m terrified that people are actually trying to reverse women’s rights and access to contraception and legal abortions. I just find it so ironic that the same people who are strongly pro-life and anti-birth control (and anti-sexual education) usually have 2 children on average. Think they used family planning and birth control at some point in their marriage?

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 1:29 pm

they must either just stop having sex or be reallllly luck ;) but really if you’re married it’s ok to use birth control. you should definitely not be having sex outside of marriage though. this is obviously one of the ‘worse’ sins you can commit. since we all know there is a hierarchy of sins.

oi vey.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 2:08 pm

Honestly. One of my friends is old school Catholic. Idk if you are Catholic or know about Novus Ordo, but it was basically the move to stop doing mass in Latin and start doing mass in whatever local language is spoken (there’s a lot more to it, but I won’t be boring you to death today). There’s a small faction of Catholics who believe this is a sign of end times and that doing mass in Latin is the right way, the only way. They are also MUCH stricter about following doctrines, unlike Cafeteria Catholics (um- me). She is quite vocal about her beliefs.

But she’s been married four years and has one kid and told me they’re not trying for another one because they can’t afford it. I refrained from asking her the next obvious question in order to keep the peace, but COME ON!

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 2:28 pm

Maybe someone can explain this to me…

I went to Catholic school, and my teachers always told us to use the “rhythm method” as birth control. However, my understanding as to why Catholics (I don’t think this is true of all Christian religions) believed birth control (and masturbation and gay sex) wrong was that you weren’t supposed to have sex for reasons other than procreation. But if you’re using the rhythm method, isn’t that the same thing? You want to have sex, but you don’t want kids? I mean, you’re not using any chemical or physical barriers, but you’re still having sex for purposes other than making a baby. Right?

CatsMeow CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 2:31 pm

I’m honestly curious – not trying to be critical.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 2:59 pm

Not critical at all! It depends on how strict the Catholic is. Some Catholics think the rhythm method is fine, some ignore the sexual rules altogether (ahem- ME) and some are stricter- at the very least they believe they’re sinning if they don’t allow for the possibility of a child.

My friend is part of a very small minority of American Catholics. If she is using the rhythm method, I imagine she thinks it’s a venial (not-as-bad) sin, but I’m assuming. Maybe she’ thinks it’s not a sin at all; they kind of have their own views so Idk.

avatar Taylor August 21, 2012, 3:29 pm

The church teaches the rhythm method now! It’s called “natural family planning” – they went over it in the marriage prep material. I don’t get how abstaining from sex because it’s a likely time to get pregnant is ok, but using a condom isn’t.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 4:07 pm

Well they specifically differentiate Natural Family Planning from the rhythm method because it is not taught in conjunction with the withdrawal method. So with the NFP there is at least a possibility of a child being born.

And now that I’m thinking about it, I’m super grossed out because it means that the belief is sperm belongs in a vagina and nowhere else otherwise that’s a sin. Ewwwww.

avatar SpaceySteph August 22, 2012, 3:34 pm

Yes that’s exactly it.
I’m not Catholic (but fiance is) and to have the church validate our marriage we have to go to the NFP class. I thought the same as you, which is that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that one version of pregnancy prevention is not ok but another is.
The way I have heard it explained is that the matter is about withholding yourself from your spouse when you are supposed to be of one flesh. If you use condoms, then you are withholding all of yourself through a physical barrier. If you use the pill, then you are withholding your fertility all the time.
If you use NFP, in my mind it’s not really different, but the way they spin it is that NFP is only withholding your fertility if you choose to abstain or use birth control methods during your fertile time. All other times you are having sex and technically there is nothing to stop you from getting pregnant (except that you probably aren’t fertile). They phrase it as withholding something all the time or just some of the time; as in during the times you do have sex on NFP you are one flesh and if God makes you pregnant, oh well. After all, God doesn’t have to follow the laws of nature.

theattack theattack August 21, 2012, 2:39 pm

I thought it was because of the whole “spilling seed” issue, and that if you used birth control, it changed your womb/vagina/etc, and it was the same as spilling it anywhere else. Like semen has to go into an environment that’s habitable for a baby and nothing else. I’m probably wrong though. I don’t know anything about Catholicism.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 2:42 pm

i’m now singing every sperm is sacred to myself.

avatar rachel August 21, 2012, 3:07 pm

A friend explained to me that a lot of birth control is considered on par with abortion, because of the way it works. Like, an egg can be fertilized (which is life to them) and then prevented from attaching. So they consider that similar to abortion.

avatar kerrycontrary August 21, 2012, 3:41 pm

Yeh, don’t get me started on the people who are pro-life but then are OK with throwing out 8 viable embryos.

avatar kerrycontrary August 21, 2012, 3:42 pm

**viable embryos after they completed IVF and don’t want any more babies.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 1:53 am

Oh god, I go to a Catholic university and the head of my program is a nun (unfortunately) and she is CRAZY about her procreation beliefs. No offense. But for reals, I don’t understand how they don’t like abortions but don’t like birth control either. I feel like if more women used birth control then there would be less abortions because fewer women would be having babies they didn’t want. I know that Catholics believe that tampering with the “natural ways” of the body is wrong and that every life is sacred, but COME ON! WOUlDN’T LESS ABORTIONS BE THE LESSER EVIL THAN MORE WOMEN USING BIRTH CONTROL??? Sorry, this just makes me mad.

I actually asked the nun that in class one time – you know what she said? She didn’t even answer the question. She just said “Oh, what a great question, but I’m afraid we’re out of time so we’ll talk about that next class.” And she didn’t. She very very strongly believes that her beliefs are right and that anything else is VERY WRONG.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 1:56 am

BTW, I only said that it is unfortunate that a nun is the head of my program because I am an environmental studies major and she teaches a majority of the classes, which all have a heavy emphasis on relating religion and environmentalism. The unfortunate result is that the program has way more of an emphasis on Catholicism than it should and also all of her classes are exactly the same. EXACTLY THE SAME. I’ve taken four classes with her and gotten an A in all of them because she’s so freaking predictable. I’ve reused papers, too. I hate her. I really hate her. That sounds harsh. But I don’t like her.

avatar FancyPants August 21, 2012, 1:22 pm

What, no, I’m not crying at my desk. It’s just allergies, really.

You’ve hit a nerve, Wendy. I have nothing to add except brava. I’m completely in awe of how your talents have encapsulated so many un-wrangled feelings, fears and emotions.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 21, 2012, 1:25 pm

I love this, Wendy – because everything is so true. But I also hate that things are this way. I hate that I always feel wary around male strangers, that I have to be cautious walking alone by myself at night, that men feel like they have the right to rape me, that politicians feel like they can control my health choices – and then refuse to pass laws that restrict men’s rights as well. It’s still a man’s world.

I just got implanon yesterday, and it was almost fully covered by my insurance, just a $30 copay. Three years of birth control for $30 – I think that’s a fabulous thing. Especially since I don’t have to remember to take any pills or anything. Everyone should be able to access affordable contraception if they want it. Nobody should be forced to have a baby that they don’t want.

Do I think abortion is awesome? No. I don’t. But I think women should have the right to get abortions if they choose. But I also think we really need to focus more on sex education, and make it SO MUCH BETTER. Talk about abstinence, talk about condoms and the pill and having safe sex, and talk to the women about always being prepared and being careful whenever men are around, and talk to the men about RESPECTING women and treating them well!

I do have to say that I thought it was great for members of the GOP to condemn Akin. Finally, they recognize that the rhetoric has gone too far in the crazy direction. I’m glad that Romney said that his administration would not oppose abortion in cases of rape. Let’s see if he upholds that promise if he gets elected.

avatar rachel August 21, 2012, 1:28 pm

What is implanon? Is it an IUD?

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 21, 2012, 1:56 pm

Implanon is a little rod that gets inserted into the arm, so it’s not an IUD. It’s kinda similar since it’s a long-term birth control implant that you keep in for a few years, but is still different. I chose the implanon over an IUD because I haven’t had children yet, so an IUD would be more painful to insert, plus I don’t have to worry about it being in my arm and getting shifted around or anything.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 21, 2012, 1:58 pm

There was this little chart at my gyno’s office that listed all of the contraceptive options in order from most effective to least effective and IUDS and implanon were right below sterilization (obviously). I am terrible at taking pills. TERRIBLE. I’m really a no-fuss kinda person. The only drawbacks is that it will probably make me spot for about a month and it will not help with my acne. It might cause weight gain, too, but I hope not.

avatar rachel August 21, 2012, 3:08 pm

Interesting. I should ask about this. I’ve been considering switching from the pill. I’ve been awful about taking it lately.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 1:57 am

That’s why I switched – I’m terrible with pills.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 1:58 am

Oh, I already said that, didn’t I? Well, lots of emphasis on that then.

katie katie August 21, 2012, 2:20 pm

its a little thing that looks like a pin implanted under your skin and it releases hormones that way. its implanted in your upper arm, on the part that faces your side, so on the “under” part or whatever

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 2:00 am

Actually, I don’t think you can see it. You’re supposed to be able to feel it but not necessarily see it all the time. There are two shots – one to numb the area of the arm (which hurts like a bitch) and another one to insert the pin itself. The needle used to deliver the local anesthetic gives you a major bruise for a few days. But it’s on the underside of my left arm. It’s funny, my friend got one and her gyno put it kinda on the topside of her arm. So maybe it depends?

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 1:51 pm

I think SOME in the GOP think the rhetoric is crazy- old school moderate Repubs (like McCain- who I actually quite like). But I actually think the only reason the GOP is so loudly and publicly condemning Akin is bc this is shaping up to royally screw Romney in November.

At least people are paying attention now. I have friends whose eyes glazed over back when the HR3 bill hullabaloo was going on and I was frothing at the mouth, who are now viscerally angry about this shit. FINALLY!

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 21, 2012, 2:01 pm

Yeah, probably. But I could see Paul Ryan also being a bit of a liability if he keeps going on about abortion and stuff like that too. He co-sponsored a bill with Akin on abortion, I think. I understand why Romney picked Ryan, for political reasons, but I don’t know how great they will be with women’s rights, and that worries me. I wish there was a third party candidate that was PERFECT. Like socially liberal, but fiscally conservative – but not to a point where it gets too crazy.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 2:06 pm

he did and i believe that Romney also supported an abortion bill with similar wording. I need to keep a list of all the things I read, haha. I can’t find them again when I want them!

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 2:14 pm

H.3.1, which I mentioned above, was that bill you’re talking about. It was the bill that introduced the term ‘forcible rape’ into the world. Fucking. Crazy.

This is a liberal site, but it has links to other sources and you can always Google it for more info (I’m an editor- reliable sources are important to me):


MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 2:07 pm

I have a soft spot for McCain too.

avatar SpaceySteph August 22, 2012, 4:17 pm

McCain was perfect until he tried to run for president. Then he spent far too much time trying to win the conservative Christian vote (who were never gonna vote for Obama anyways, so who cares?!) and lost many of the middle-of-the-road people in the meantime.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 22, 2012, 4:55 pm

i know.. i liked McCain before the bush2 team got to him that second time. Whatever happened to the maverick bus! the F the man?

They don’t HAVE to cater to the religious conservatives. They don’t make up 50% of the population. And you’re right, it would be more ideal to force the RR’s to vote for a moderate because that’s their only choice, instead of trying to be the polar opposite of the Democrats. Choosing a moderate would help GET MORE DONE in our government and, you know, WORK WITH democrats. god forbid the word compromise comes up

avatar ele4phant August 22, 2012, 5:13 pm

“They don’t HAVE to cater to the religious conservatives”

Seriously. This is what always perplexes me about the GOP’s strategy in trying to capture their vote. What are the religious right going to do going to do if the GOP doesn’t pick a candidate conservative enough for them? Stay home? They certainly won’t go off and vote for the liberal out of spite. I know they’re a big chunk of the party, but I think a moderate republican could get a lot of the independents, libertarians, maybe even some disenchanted moderate liberals to vote for them. I think it’d could be winnable for them, if they had the right candidate. Heck, *I* might even entertain the idea of voting for someone who is fiscally conservative but socially liberal, if they seemed like a competent individual. Probably wouldn’t go through with it, but I might think about it.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 22, 2012, 5:27 pm

Exactly. Especially in the current economy and with the deficit; a socially liberal, fiscally conservative, capitalistic candidate would BE SO MUCH MORE IDEAL. Why spend all this time bashing women and turning everyone of reasonable intelligence off to this party? I realize that the RR has a butt load of money, but there ARE wealthy independents/moderates that would be happy to support someone who didn’t spew RR rhetoric.
And seriously, i though the “except for cases of rape and incest” was a non-negotiable. Total face palm RNC. Total face palm

avatar SpaceySteph August 22, 2012, 5:34 pm

It really is baffling. Generally the Republicans cater to the way right and the Democrats cater to the way left. But the battleground is all the people in the middle who could be swayed either way with the right candidate. Why does nobody want to be MY president?

McCain lost me when he chose Crazy-pants Palin to be his running mate. I actually believed, even when he was saying the things the right wanted him to say, that as president he would go back to the middle and be a decent moderate president. Until her. I couldn’t risk her being a heartbeat from the presidency.

avatar ele4phant August 22, 2012, 5:47 pm

Before Palin, I was happy with either choice. I preferred Obama and still would have voted for him, but I would’ve been a happy camper either way the election went.

After Palin though, over my dead body was I going to be happy if he won.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 22, 2012, 5:48 pm

Yeah she cray cray.

The thought the exact same thing with McCain. It was talk, but his actions would be his standard moderate run.

“Why does nobody want to be MY president.”—like that a lot

avatar ele4phant August 22, 2012, 5:58 pm

To be fair, Palin didn’t start out as the teaparty calendar girl. Her (very brief) record as governor was actually pretty moderate. I think she gloamed onto the teaparty movement after the election, not because she believes in it because it was just a way to stay current.

If I remember, my issues with her at the time were not her very conservative views, but just that she was…dumb. Unexerienced and uninformed, and not someone who should be second in line to the presidency.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl August 22, 2012, 11:58 pm

correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Romney’s record more moderate? the Massachusetts health care etc? maybe it would be a similar thing?
although the more moderate candidates tend to pick someone whose social leanings are more RR, or at least are influenceable (re: palin).

it’s unfortunate that so many dumbdumbs get through the political system like Akin.

another thing is: okay, we can all agree that this attack on women is some patriarchal bullshit, but how can we change that? how do we vote? For the moderate Republicans, do you vote Romney on president, but Dem everywhere else to balance it? Dem president and mixed for senate etc? I can’t accept that NOT voting is my option. A vote for a third party candidate: is that a waste? or does it help prove a point? How can I rank my rights as a woman against my views on taxes and spending? Do I even have to rank them? Wendy brings up a lot of good questions. I find it hard to believe that in this day and age, Roe v Wade would actually get overturned, but with Akin and some other crazies.. i dunno. I should take a look at the voting records of the people who are up for re-election as well as those who are continuing their term. Try and run probability to see “how close” since the RR agenda seems to be not to outright overturn, but to limit womens healthcare to such an extreme as to put it out of reach of most americans.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:47 pm

Most republicans aren’t women haters just like most democrats aren’t baby killers. you should separate the rhetoric from the people.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 10:05 pm

Well I never said most Repubs are women haters so I have no trouble separating rhetoric from individuals, but I do have a real problem with GOP politicians and voters acting like voting for bills/representatives that promote legislation that negatively affects women in this country acting like that doesn’t have anything to do with their character. They may not go around thinking “WOMEN. THEY’RE THE WORST AMIRITE?!” but actions speak louder than words.

And right now those actions are hundreds of anti-women bills.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 2:10 pm

“I do have to say that I thought it was great for members of the GOP to condemn Akin”

Yes, at least they condemned him. But did they condemn him because they disagree with him, or because of the outcry against him?

Also, I really don’t understand why anyone who’s pro-life would agree with not opposing abortion in cases of rape. If they think it’s a person, why would it matter how the person got created, rape or otherwise? In my opinion, a pro-lifer who agree with exceptions for rape is just someone who wants the “innocent” women to be able to have abortions, while the dirty sluts who actually chose to have sex should be forced to have an unwanted child as punishment for their sins.

avatar jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 2:13 pm

they are scared that he will ruin their own elections. i think many of them would pass the bill in a heart beat if given the choice to vote on it. but, because people were so angry over his remarks they are trying to run away as fast as possible.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 2:22 pm

My thoughts exactly, jlyfish.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 2:02 am

I agree, totally. But there is a secret hope inside of me that maybe they are realizing that things are maybe going too far. Who knows.

LK7889 LK7889 August 21, 2012, 2:18 pm

Personally, I think they condemned him for the very reason you mention- because of the public outcry. If they thought they could get more votes standing up for him, you better believe that they would’ve. In the mean time, they are still trying to sneak all the anti-abortion bills through without having the media talking about it.

avatar HmC August 21, 2012, 2:39 pm

Riefer- I 100% agree with your last paragraph. My thoughts exactly.

avatar Lydia August 21, 2012, 4:17 pm

THIS on your last paragraph. Honestly, most pro-life policies make no sense to me at all. They claim to be all about the innocent fetus but most of the time it’s really about punishing women who have sex.

avatar cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:55 pm

That isn’t it at all. I think both sides believe that abortion is a bad thing. People can argue that it is a necessary evil but they shouldn’t happen. I listed it above but the line is Accessable, Safe, and Rare. It isn’t about judgement but it is about weighing the needs and rights of two people (the mother and the baby). The mother doesn’t always lose this fight for pro life people. The baby does have a say with them. Versus, pro choice has the mom always being the #1 priority and the fetus 2nd.

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 7:06 pm

what about going beyond abortion – which is what the personhood amendment does? what about eliminating birth control and fertility treatments? what about the legalities of the unborn having the same rights as the born – and how do you know the exact moment to enforce it??

FWIW, I second the person above who mentioned the hypocrisy of the majority of the pro-life and/or personhood movement ignoring the issue of killing/disposing of the unborn during some fertility treatments… the same people that are picketing outside of Planned Parenthood should be picketing outside of every fertility clinic in the country, yet for some reason don’t. hmmmmmmm

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 2:05 am

Actually, I think the die-hard Catholics are very much against IVF and other procedures similar to it because of the disposal of the unfertilized eggs and embryoes. The two theology professors that I had recently at my Catholic university were vehemently against IVF. They believed it was either have the baby or adopt, I think.

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 7:13 pm

“pro choice has the mom always being the #1 priority and the fetus 2nd.”

not pro-choice… mom is #1 because basic biology with respect to any species (bird, mammal, HUMAN) that gives birth to altricial young, dictates that without the mother the young can’t survive. I realize we’ve come far with medical advances and this is no longer the case with people and domesticated animals… but this concept isn’t exactly something pro-choice people have made up. In a way it’s basic instinct.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 9:20 pm

This is exactly right. I’m sure if the technology was there, pro-choice people would be just fine with the fetus being removed and put into an incubator for the rest of its developmental cycle, and then given to adoptive parents. In fact I’m sure most of us would prefer that. We don’t enjoy the fact that they are being killed either.

However, yes, the woman comes first. She is the one who has to grow a fetus inside of her, and she should have the choice of whether or not she wants to do that. No one should be able to force her to grow something inside of her that she does not want in there. I frankly think it’s disgusting to force that on someone.

avatar kerrycontrary August 21, 2012, 3:47 pm

YES on the more sex ed. Hilary Clinton said “The fact is that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place.” It’s one of my favorite statements, ever. And the fact that people literally want to make the pill (THE PILL) illegal boggles my mind. VA’s governor has written multiple papers on restricting access to any and all access for women. It’s crazy.

avatar Riefer August 21, 2012, 4:01 pm

Unfortunately there are a group of people who understand that if women don’t have control over when they have children, then they won’t be able to have control over their education or career either. And this group likes that idea. They want women back in the house where they belong.

Also, if there’s no birth control, it makes it a lot easier to spot the “bad” women. Just look for the unmarried pregnant ones.

avatar j2 August 21, 2012, 1:27 pm

Akin would be such a joy for a candidate to run against. His presence on the ballot would instantly send this voter to choosing an opponent of his to vote for.

avatar andrea August 21, 2012, 2:57 pm

Missourian here! His opponent, Claire McCaskill, is actually spending money to run ads that blatantly encourage him to keep running because she knows he’s the only republican she could have beat in my increasingly more conservative state.

Jessibel5 Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 4:27 pm

Did anyone tell him yet that women don’t have panic wombs?

avatar MMcG August 21, 2012, 4:50 pm

@ Jessibel5 – thank you for brightening the thread. “Panic Wombs” is the first thing I’ve read here that made me laugh out loud. Just thinking of what Jodie Foster could do in the lead role… I’m taking that positivity and leaving the office.

TaraMonster TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 10:09 pm


Panic wombs.

I love you.

avatar quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 2:08 am

LOL! Panic wombs! Btw, have you guys seen that anti-rape device that someone in South Africa created because of the rape epidemic there?

From Wikipedia –

An anti-rape female condom using a different design was invented by Sonnet Ehlers, a South African woman. Ehlers was motivated to create it while working as a blood technician with the South African Blood Transfusion Service, during which time she met many rape victims. Ehler mentioned that she was inspired to create RAPEX (later renamed to Rape-aXe) when a patient who had been raped stated, “If only I had teeth down there,”[3] suggesting the myth of the vagina dentata. Initially called RapeX, the name was changed in 2006 upon discovering that RAPEX is also an EU warning system against dangerous goods on the market.
The Rape-aXe is a latex sheath embedded with shafts of sharp, inward-facing barbs that would be worn by a woman in her vagina like a female condom. If an attacker were to attempt vaginal rape, his penis would enter the latex sheath and be snagged by the barbs, causing the attacker excruciating pain during withdrawal and giving the victim time to escape. The condom would remain attached to the attacker’s body when he withdrew and could only be removed surgically,[4] which would alert hospital staff and police. Like most condoms, Rape-aXe also usually prevents pregnancy and the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted Infections.
Rape-aXe was unveiled on August 31, 2005 in South Africa. Although media coverage at the time implied that mass production was due to begin in April 2007,[5] the device has never been marketed to the public and it remains unclear whether the product will ever be available for purchase.

Jessibel5 Jessibel5 August 22, 2012, 10:45 am

So, little update:
I was talking with a friend last night whose mother is a lawyer, and we were talking about this whole mess. He says “funny story, my mom KNOWS McCaskill and was talking to her about this whole kerfuffle..McCaskill herself has apparently said that in MO, this guy is the ONLY candidate she has a shot in hell of winning against, so she def. wants him to stay in the race!” I’m going to trust that this is true, lol, because this friend hasn’t ever lied to me.

avatar ktfran August 22, 2012, 1:01 pm

It is true. She was behind 13 pts., then Akin opened his mouth. She really had no chance of winning until now. So, this is really good for her.

Kristina Kristina August 21, 2012, 1:27 pm

So I was on vacation for awhile and had no idea about the chaos with what this politician said–and I still don’t really know what happened. But I’m pro-life for the most part and I think what he said was completely out of line. I know we still have a long way before equal rights, but I’m also proud of just how far we have come.

I don’t like to discuss politics much–I grew up in an extremely liberal family in one of the most liberal parts of the country. Yet, I’m a complete centrist and see pieces of both sides that I can agree with at times. The way I see it is one side is trying to take away too many rights, and the other side is not fighting hard enough for our rights. I simply can’t bring myself to vote for anyone anymore. I hate all the senseless attacks and how elections have turned into debates about all the sensational issues, and not necessarily the real issues and how to get to the root of those. I also hate that too many politicians in power don’t represent the real people behind the vote. At the end of it, I still love my country. But I’m frustrated, plain and simple.