Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

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.

531 comments… add one
  • 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.

    Reply Link
    • 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?

      Reply Link
      • 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…

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 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 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 August 21, 2012, 2:08 pm

        True. Everything you say. Very true.

      • painted_lady August 21, 2012, 6:13 pm


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

        Go Skyblossom!

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:32 pm

        very true!

      • 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.

      • 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?

      • 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 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. 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 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 August 21, 2012, 1:47 pm

        THANK YOU MARK!!!!
        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.

      • 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 August 21, 2012, 2:10 pm

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

      • JK August 21, 2012, 2:13 pm

        That´s funny, it made MY blood boil! 🙂

      • 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?

      • 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.

      • 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 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 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.

      • 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 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).

      • 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 August 21, 2012, 3:36 pm

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

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

        Go Cats!

      • 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.

      • 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 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).

      • 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 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 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.

      • 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 August 21, 2012, 3:37 pm

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

      • 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 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 August 23, 2012, 12:17 pm

        Preach it, sista!

      • 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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 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. 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 August 22, 2012, 12:47 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • cporoski August 21, 2012, 5:38 pm

        I am going to buy that book today 🙂

      • 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 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!!!

      • 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.

      • 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 – 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_ 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.

      • 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 August 21, 2012, 12:44 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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!)

      • 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.”

      • 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.

    • 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.

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      • 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!

      • 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 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.

      • 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 August 23, 2012, 12:25 pm

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

    • 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.

      Reply Link
      • 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 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.

      Reply Link
      • 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.

      • GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 12:43 pm

        Willing to and able to are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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 August 21, 2012, 1:39 pm

        He probably does, Clare.

      • 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 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.

      • 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 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 August 21, 2012, 7:34 pm

        Thank you, you stated this better than I did

      • 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 August 23, 2012, 12:23 pm

        Thanks for clarifying!

      • 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 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 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 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 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 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 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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.

      • 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!

      • 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 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?”

      • 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?

      • 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • rachel August 21, 2012, 12:47 pm

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

      • 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.

      • TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 12:37 pm

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

    • 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.

      Reply Link
      • 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 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 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 August 21, 2012, 2:36 pm

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

      • 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 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • MJ August 21, 2012, 9:18 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      Reply Link
      • 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 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 August 21, 2012, 1:06 pm

        Men are covered by FMLA laws too!

      • 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.

      • 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 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!

      • 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 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

      • 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.

      • 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 August 21, 2012, 5:07 pm

        Sweden. I’m moving to Sweden.

      • 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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 🙁

    • 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???

      Reply Link
      • 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.

      • 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 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.

      • Flake August 21, 2012, 2:34 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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 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.

      • Flake August 21, 2012, 4:09 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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 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 August 21, 2012, 8:02 pm

        Katie – ditto.

      • 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 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 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.

      • 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 August 21, 2012, 3:01 pm

        More parents would probably stay at home for starters…

    • 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.

      Reply Link
      • 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 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.

      • 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 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 August 21, 2012, 4:59 pm

        *works much more then most other mothers/fathers

    • 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?

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      • 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.

    • 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.

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  • 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.”

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    • MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 12:23 pm

      Here, Here.

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    • 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:


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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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 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).

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  • Kristen August 21, 2012, 12:20 pm

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

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  • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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  • Lianne August 21, 2012, 12:26 pm

    So well said. Thank you.

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  • 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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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.”

      • 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.

      • 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!

      • 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. 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.

      • 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”

      • 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!

      • 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.

    • 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.

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      • 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. 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 August 21, 2012, 5:22 pm

        Im so jealous your iud was covered!!

  • CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Bravo, Wendy!

    I got chills reading this.

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    • Lianne August 21, 2012, 12:32 pm

      Me too! Goosebumps all over.

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      • ktfran August 21, 2012, 12:40 pm

        I third this. Seriously. Great piece Wendy.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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.

      • 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.

      • Lydia August 21, 2012, 1:12 pm

        Gender profiling is sexist and wrong too, though.

      • CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 1:23 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

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      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 August 21, 2012, 1:01 pm

        The honking scrap truck drivers make me want to punch someone

      • 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?!

      • 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?

      • 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.

      • j2 August 21, 2012, 1:19 pm

        Chicago, Republican stronghold, eh?

      • 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.

      • 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.”

    • 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?

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      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 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…

      • Val August 21, 2012, 2:57 pm

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

      • bittergaymark August 21, 2012, 3:19 pm

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

      • 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 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 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.

      • 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 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 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.

      • 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 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 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.

      • 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.)

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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.

      • sarolabelle August 21, 2012, 2:34 pm

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

      • 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.

    • 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.

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      • 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.

    • 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.

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      • 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.

      • 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!

    • ChemE August 21, 2012, 1:58 pm

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

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      • sarolabelle August 21, 2012, 2:45 pm

        yeah, maybe that’s my issue…..

    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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 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.

  • 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.

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    • 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!

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      • 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.

      • 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 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.

  • 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.

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    • 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….

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      • 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 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.


      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 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 August 21, 2012, 9:57 pm

        ‘scuse me

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 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.

    • bethany August 21, 2012, 1:47 pm

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

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      • 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.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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    • 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.

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  • 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: .

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  • 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?

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    • 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.

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    • 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!

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      • 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 August 21, 2012, 2:31 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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 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.

      • 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 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.

      • jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 2:42 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • kerrycontrary August 21, 2012, 3:42 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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    • rachel August 21, 2012, 1:28 pm

      What is implanon? Is it an IUD?

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      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 1:57 am

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

      • quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 1:58 am

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

      • 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

      • 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?

    • 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.

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      • 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.

      • Riefer August 21, 2012, 2:22 pm

        My thoughts exactly, jlyfish.

      • 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 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.

      • HmC August 21, 2012, 2:39 pm

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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!

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      • 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.

      • 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 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 August 21, 2012, 2:07 pm

        I have a soft spot for McCain too.

      • 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 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

      • 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 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

      • 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.

      • 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 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

      • 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 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.

      • 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 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.

    • 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.

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      • 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.

  • 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.

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    • 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.

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      • Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 4:27 pm

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

      • 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 August 21, 2012, 10:09 pm


        Panic wombs.

        I love you.

      • 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 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.

      • 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.

  • TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Wendy- Rock the fuck on, girl!

    And now I’ll go read the comments. 🙂

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


      Reply Link
      • TaraMonster August 21, 2012, 2:15 pm


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

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

  • Lindsay August 21, 2012, 1:35 pm

    But honestly, it’s all based on the same principle — that a woman could easily be attacked or raped just for being out alone. And the concept that Wendy mentioned, of having her husband pick her up, or how I sometimes get my male friends to walk me home, is not too different.

    The remarks Obama has made over the ridiculous rape commentary by that one Republican have really made me appreciate his stance on all this. He’s not claiming that, as a Democrat, he knows what women need and should make that decision instead of Republicans; he’s saying that women should make it, and he acknowledges how ridiculous it is that white male politicians are always the ones to decide how women can live their lives.

    It’s really depressing when you think about how little progress our society has made. Sure, women can vote and hold office, but at least half of the population keeps choosing people who think we don’t deserve to decide what to do with our bodies or whether we want children, and how many.

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    • Lindsay August 21, 2012, 2:43 pm

      Some of my comment got lost. The first part was supposed to say:

      We are always so appalled by how women were treated centuries ago and in other countries, such as when they aren’t allowed to leave without a chaperone.

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  • TECH August 21, 2012, 1:36 pm

    Since Akin’s ridiculuous comments went public, the statistic of 32,000 rapes resulting in pregnancy per year have been published in a lot of different news outlets. However, it is important to remember that the government will never have an accurate statistic because incidents of rape are seriously underreported.

    As a side note, I’d like to see if Republican members of Congress would support insurance companies not paying for Viagra or vasectomies. Evidently those are more medically necessary than birth control.

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    • bethany August 21, 2012, 1:53 pm

      Thank you for pointing out the Viagra thing. That drives me NUTS!!!

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  • MsMisery August 21, 2012, 1:38 pm

    If it weren’t for the fact that I hear completely ignorant and obnoxious stuff from women, too, I would blame this on the fact that men have no idea what it is like to have periods, have breasts, get pregnant, carry babies, birth babies, be primary caregivers, contemplate abortions/adoptions, and fear rape. I think if MEN did these things too, or instead of us, the whole conversation would be different.

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    • Lindsay August 21, 2012, 2:39 pm

      You are so right. They wouldn’t be so quick to be told what to do with their bodies by the government.

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    • MMcG August 21, 2012, 4:05 pm

      If men did these things too childbirth would be pain-free, under some magic medicine that let’s you continue watching a game while drinking a beer. I would also like to believe that if men had to undergo mammagrams that little device would be a bit more forgiving as well… perhaps we should put their balls in a vice instead of just asking them to cough? 🙂

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  • Addie Pray August 21, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Wendy, I loved this piece. My head is exploding wanting to respond to all the comments above but I should get back to work. Thank you so very much for writing it – it was just beautiful!

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    • Wendy August 21, 2012, 2:03 pm

      Thanks, AP. And thanks for sharing on FB.

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  • Clare August 21, 2012, 2:09 pm

    Wendy, I just want to add to all the above comments about how great this piece is. Yes, there are lots of important political issues to think about, but we can’t forget our basic rights as women and stand up for ourselves (even though it’s ridiculous that it has come to this!).

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  • LK7889 August 21, 2012, 2:11 pm

    I understand this link is to an opinion piece but I really like LZ Granderson and what he has to say here: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/21/opinion/granderson-gop-rape-abortion/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    Ultimately, this guy Akin is not alone. MANY members of the GOP (including women) think that they need to take away a woman’s right to control her own body. Yet, everyone forgets about the bills that they have tried to pass and the things they have said. We need to stand up and let them know that we didn’t forget this election.

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    • iseeshiny August 21, 2012, 4:50 pm

      I love LZ Granderson. That’s all.

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  • MISS MJ August 21, 2012, 2:15 pm

    This is a great piece, Wendy. Thank you for writing it. I was appalled when I heard about Todd Akin’s words, and even more appalled when I read further and realized that he is hardly alone among the GOP in believing these sorts of things. Women to these people are objects, just like we are to the guys cat-calling us on the street or the ones sexually assaulting and raping us, whether Rep. Akin would consider it “legitimate” or not. We must be. Because the fact that any human on earth would think it justified to force another human being to grow another human inside of them, face the emotional and physical trauma of child bearing, and child care, is astounding. Even more astounding is that they would expect a woman to carry the societal, economical, educational and career impact of being forced to bear that child all on her own, because god knows, the GOP isn’t about to go out and fund health care, child care or any other program aimed at actually helping anyone who isn’t in the top 1%.

    We are things to these people, and Todd Akin is just the latest one of them to actually say what he thought. And you know why he said it on TV? Because he is surrounded by people who believe the same things. It’s such a commonplace sentiment among those he associates with that he actually didn’t realize that he shouldn’t say it on television. And, it’s such a commonplace sentiment that he now won’t drop out of the Missouri race, believing that at least 50% of those voting in Missouri will see it the way he does. Or at least not hold it against him. And why not? GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan shares the same view. If the VP can believe that pregnancy from “legitimate” rape is rare, why can’t the he?

    These attitudes, from Rush Limbough calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” because she wanted access to birth control and insinuating that women should just not have sex if they don’t want to get pregnant (because god forbid you want to plan your family) to Rick Santorum insinuating that women who become pregnant from rape should see it as a gift from God (because all women want babies, regardless of where they come from, right?) to Akin to whichever idiot steps out and says the next thing all see women as nothing more than objects who are fit only to raise babies. That’s where the problem comes in, isn’t it? When women don’t want to have babies – any babies – any time. They want to have birth control, because birth control prevents babies. They want access to the morning after pill because sometimes birth control fails. They want access to abortions because sometimes, for whatever reason, they are not in a place to have a baby. Women not wanting babies is a bad, bad thing to the GOP. It must be stopped. The woman being forced to have the baby is irrelevant.

    As is her family. I feel like a lot of men tune out discussions about birth control and abortion because it’s a “women’s issue” so they can ignore it. Not exactly, guys. If women cannot get access to birth control, you have no say over whether or when you want to have children, or how many you want to have. Sex = babies. No ifs, ands or buts about it. And, if a woman gets raped and pregnant with no access to abortion? Guess what husband or committed boyfriend? You’re having a baby. Her rapist’s baby. Better figure out what you’re going to tell the other kids. And your friends and family. Or give up your dream of a child-free life. Women bear the brunt of it, but the impact of reduced access to birth control and no access to abortion directly effects men, too. It’s time we all stopped letting the GOP legislate when, where, why and how we will have children. (Because to the GOP, not having them is not an option.)

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    • MMcG August 21, 2012, 4:18 pm

      A female member of the Missouri GOP supporting Akin and his comments made a similar statement about God’s blessing… the comments section on gawker was comical. And somewhere biology teachers all over the US are crying in their textbooks 😉

      “Ms. Barnes echoed Mr. Akin’s statement that very few rapes resulted in pregnancy, adding that “at that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.”

      “That’s more what I believe he was trying to state,” she said. “He just phrased it badly.””

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      • MMcG August 21, 2012, 4:19 pm

        *her comments.

        ugh… damn brain assuming a woman might know how here body works

      • iseeshiny August 21, 2012, 4:46 pm

        Ewwww I hadn’t heard her statements. I just threw up in my brain a little.

  • TheGirlinME August 21, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Such an excellent piece, Wendy! Thank you. I was so appalled and dismayed by what *ahem* “The Gentleman from Missouri” had to say. I was going to stop lurking and comment in forums how enraged I was at that imbecile. I have been a registered Republican for years, and frankly am sickened by the religious right-wing’s stranglehold. They have completely eroded the original ideals that I signed up for. The ideal that my government should but the F out of my personal life, enact laws that have the equality of ALL individuals in mind, and strongly defend its citizens against enemies. It’s due to this backward-thinking idiocy, that as a woman, I am ashamed of the GOP.

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    • MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 2:42 pm

      agreed. I think I say now that I’m an independent with fiscal republican leanings to distance myself from the “social” rhetoric that the RR’s have been touting.

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  • landygirl August 21, 2012, 2:25 pm

    Excellent piece. Most men will never truly understand what it’s like to be treated as a commodity.

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  • HmC August 21, 2012, 2:27 pm

    That was really beautiful Wendy.

    The thing that really gets me is, women’s reproductive rights are SO MUCH more than a women’s issue. They affect society as a whole, women and men, in such a fundamental way. Unwanted children are the cause of many societal ills that negatively impact both men and women. It is a better world for everyone where women have control over their own bodies. Mothers who are given the flexibility to flourish at their workplaces are an asset to those workplaces, not a drain. Feminism is good for both MEN and WOMEN because it gives everyone flexibility in determining who they are outside of typical roles. I should try and make this more eloquent, but Wendy’s already gone into details, and I don’t have much time right now.

    I’m just… really frustrated right now. With that Akin comment, with the state of things. I wish more people could understand how good it is for EVERYONE when women can control their own fertility, and contribute to society in meaningful ways and on their terms.

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    • CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 2:33 pm

      Thumbs up for pointing out that feminism benefits ALL genders.

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  • 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.

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  • katie August 21, 2012, 2:30 pm

    wendy, what are you doing posting these awesome articles when i am at lunch? you couldnt wait until i was back so that i could have been a part of this?? haha

    wow. so this is how i feel. this is how i have felt for a long time, since about the time i started that War on Women forum thread. i dont like being told what to do, and i just feel like thats ALL these politicians are doing. they are just telling me what to do. and i dont like that.

    i honestly dont understand why. i really dont. i dont understand how it effects them, why they care, and why they put so much energy into it. i just dont.

    and also this just goes back to my inward struggle. i cant bring children into this world. this world sucks, case in point.

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    • HmC August 21, 2012, 2:50 pm

      “i honestly dont understand why. i really dont. i dont understand how it effects them, why they care, and why they put so much energy into it. i just dont.”

      Maybe this is overly simplistic, but the way I see it… we live in a patriarchy. Men are in charge, have always been in charge, in a way that is so ingrained and systemic that even while many people feel they aren’t sexist, they unknowingly perpetuate misogyny by simply continuing with the status quo in many regards. Everyone, all humans, relate better to other humans with whom they share similar qualities. Men are more able to empathize with the issues of other men, and women with women. But since men are the ones in charge, their perspectives are often perpetuated to the detriment of other perspectives. This is why DIVERSITY of perspectives is the key. Women shouldn’t be in charge any more than men should. We should all be. It’s not that so many men are openly and truly sexist- it’s that society as a whole (including women) functions from the perspective of men. Specifically, white men. So even with the dying out of hateful, obvious sexism, gender roles and the white man’s perspective are perpetuated. And that’s the big problem. We can stamp out sexism, but then it just sort of gets more subtle in order to continue. See: How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran for more detailed discussion on these concepts.

      As far as why these politicians specifically put so much energy into these issues… I honestly believe it is because women’s sexuality is generally seen as threatening to many men. Still. And since they have lived their whole lives in a society where their perspective, and their fear of women’s sexuality, is supported, they are allowed to continue on feelings that way and legislating accordingly. It’s like an ego thing.

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      • katie August 21, 2012, 3:38 pm

        great points.

        i guess i ask that question mostly knowing good men who dont care what a woman does regarding birth control and would be happy for the choice to have an abortion or not if they and their partner got pregnant.

        i need to think more like my father- who openly wanted to “find me” a good husband to marry. then it’ll make sense.

      • painted_lady August 22, 2012, 12:37 am

        That’s really well said. I think it’s part of why women’s health care has so often been excluded or considered a special service on insurance plans and why birth control is such a loaded issue (not all of it, of course). The majority of the people making those decisions are like, “But *I’ve* been fine without an annual pap smear. Why can’t everyone else be?” from someone who doesn’t have a cervix.

  • Kelly August 21, 2012, 2:39 pm

    OMG, our basic rights are at risk! speaking of ‘talking points”, that’s right out of the dnc and Obama campaign. Look, you all can lump yourself into a special interest group if you like, but I’m a living, breathing human being with my own opinions and I don’t care to think one way just because of my gender. You want to make your life, your vote, about your vaunted reproductive organ, have at it. I think I’m more than a vagina and a pair of boobs and can form an opinion outside of a group.

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    • jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 2:42 pm

      so you don’t care if someone else decides whether or not you have access to birth control or your well woman visits are paid for or whether or not you could have an abortion if you needed to?

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      • Kelly August 21, 2012, 2:48 pm

        Seriously, you really buy the garbage that “someone” is trying to take away your birth control? YOU really believe that? For real? All I can do is shake my head. We really are doomed and woman really are gullible.

      • jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 2:52 pm

        um i believe it because my insurance currently already makes it really difficult to get birth control. and my well woman visit is already not covered. so yes, i believe it. and i don’t believe that it’s ‘someone’ i believe it’s the people we’re choosing to put in to office. we’re putting people in to office who will try to pass laws that will restrict access to birth control and abortions. they don’t even try to hide it, they talk about as part of their platform to get elected.

      • Skyblossom August 21, 2012, 3:04 pm

        That’s the real effect of the life from the moment of conception movement because it considers almost all forms of birth control as abortion even if they work by preventing conception rather than killing an embryo.

      • Kelly August 21, 2012, 2:55 pm

        How exactly is that going to work when they outlaw birth control? Will they pass a law in the legislature? How will they force insurance companies to stop covering woman’s healthcare visits? Will they send in the marines?

      • jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 2:58 pm

        yes they will pass laws, which they’ve talked about doing. part of the bans on abortions will include reducing access to certain forms of birth control. individuals should be able to choose whatever form they want to use. and insurance companies can already choose to not cover women’s visits. and they haven’t needed the marines yet.

      • jlyfsh August 21, 2012, 3:05 pm

        and maybe you don’t care about protecting your reproductive rights and being in control of decisions in regard to birth control or even think that politicians would try to pass these laws. they hopefully would be shot down by voters but they would definitely try to pass them.

      • MaterialsGirl August 21, 2012, 3:07 pm

        You can virtually ban something by making it so expensive so as to put it outside the reach of most people’s incomes.

      • MMcG August 21, 2012, 4:26 pm

        Please see GOP platform… they have passed or tried to pass laws at the local, state and federal level, they have limited access – that’s why obamacare scares the shit out of them — birth control is on the loose!! RUN FOR THE HILLS

      • MMcG August 21, 2012, 4:28 pm

        “How will they force insurance companies to stop covering woman’s healthcare visits?”

        OH WAIT – You come from a world where woman’s healthcare is already covered by insurance!?! It must be nice to assume that’s the case for everyone. Not necessarily the norm and can vary widely from state to state and company to company.

      • MISS MJ August 21, 2012, 4:50 pm

        THIS! Seriously, last fall I got to do the shopping for my and my husband’s health insurance. The number of policies out there that don’t cover birth control or pregnancy is astounding. I chose the option that didn’t cover viagra, either, because it just pissed me off. I’m about to have to start the process all over again. Hopefully, with the new health care law, I’ll have better luck getting realistic coverage.

        And as far as “forcing” health insurance companies to not cover something – seriously? If a health insurance company can make you pay for a policy, then deny coverage, they don’t need to be “forced” to not do it. It’s how they make money. The purpose of the new health care law is to get them to actually provide the coverage they make you pay for.

      • ktfran August 21, 2012, 4:54 pm

        Exactly! I wrote earlier how I had to pay full price for birth control because it wasn’t covered under my insurance. It was not cheap.

    • CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 3:25 pm

      Umm… what?

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    • theattack August 21, 2012, 3:35 pm

      I think I can speak for everyone here and say that we also believe we’re more than our vaginas, but that doesn’t mean that it makes our reproductive rights any less important. In fact, it makes those rights MORE important, because the more our rights are taken away, the more our autonomy is taken away, and the less capable we are of being independent women. When birth control becomes so expensive that we can’t afford it, we have to focus more of our time and money on paying for it which undermines our other possibilities.

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    • MMcG August 21, 2012, 4:23 pm

      have you been under a rock or are you one of those special women who thinks these things won’t apply to you? seriously, do you read the news?

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    • MISS MJ August 21, 2012, 4:43 pm

      Isn’t the point of opposing restrictions to birth control and abortion because women ARE more than their vaginas? And, therefore, we DON’T want reproduction controlling our lives? Therefore, we need access to birth control and abortion. And, therefore, we should vote in such a manner to ensure that we had access to those things, should we want or need them.

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  • mandalee August 21, 2012, 2:45 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this Wendy! You articulated how I felt about these issues much better than I’ve tried to do over the past few months. The majority of my husband’s family is unfortunately part of the “religious right”, so it’s not even strangers or some uneducated politician speaking this nonsense, it’s right in my family tree. I try to block it out but as parents of DAUGHTERS I’m shocked at their Fox News talking points and the fact that they think it’s okay to say to my face constantly (even in a round about way in a wedding card!!!) the things they do.

    I told my husband the other day that I hope we have all sons because I am so afraid of raising a daughter in a climate like this. It’s absolutely terrifying.

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  • j2 August 21, 2012, 2:49 pm

    I have heard analagous complaints from men:

    – that they are guilty until proven innocent when accused of sex crimes, to the point that few men will risk being teachers below the college level

    – that even being proved innocent does not allow being “made whole” due to reputational and financial damage

    – that family courts do not provide a level legal field, with many anecdotal examples, including requiring support of children sired by adultery

    – that TSA screeners like male external genitalia, as the “Jon Dough” porn star related

    Sadly, I cannot rebut that the above happens.

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    • Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 3:26 pm

      Yeah, that’s the crappy flip side 🙁 Thanks for making these points!

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  • Skyblossom August 21, 2012, 3:10 pm

    I think another aspect of this is the move to allow your employer to decide whether birth control is included in your health insurance. The move is to allow the employer to exercise their conscience to decide whether birth control is moral rather than to allow the individual to exercise their own conscience to decie whether birth control is ethical and desirable.

    I hope that the politicans realize that the flip side of this is that if the employer decided that birth control was moral and desirable but pregnancy and children were a financial strain on the business then the employer could just as easily decide that all employees had to use birth control as decide that no employees could use birth control.

    In the end it should never be the employeers choice whether an employee has babies or doesn’t have babies or whether the employee chooses to use birth control.

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    • MMcG August 21, 2012, 4:32 pm

      The irony being that most insurance companies would prefer to cover BC because it’s way less expensive than labor and delivery — even without complications!

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  • Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 3:24 pm

    What really stood out to me in Wendy’s writing was the portion about “and I need a chaperone because some crazy douchebags think my body is public property.”

    My husband hates letting me go for a run without the dog, and would prefer if I stayed in the gym on the treadmill if possible because he’s scared someone’s going to grab me. When he’s away on business, I sleep with a weapon (needlenose pliers, knife, golf club) by the bed, just in case. I refuse to park in the designated area for monthly parkers at work because it’s underground, and I park in the daily parking area instead because it’s outside and patrolled by cops. We live in a nice area, but it doesn’t really matter, because home invasions/rapes/muggings still happen. I was once followed into the grocery store by three teenage boys who then also followed me through the aisles and kept trying to get my attention to talk to me, and circling themselves around me when I would stop to pick up an item, trying to force me to converse with them. I ended up having to go to the manager and wait them out. When I tried to ignore them, I was called “frigid” “bitch” and all sorts of other names. It sucks that I can’t feel comfortable walking around by myself because there are predators out there who think that they can take what they want from another human being like that.

    I was trading stories with a friend about how if we ever scowl or look upset about something, there have been many instances where a man will come up to us and say something to the effect of “smile, you’d look a lot prettier” I was sitting in a bar waiting for a friend and was worried, so I guess I was frowning, and guy came up to me and pulled that line on me. I told him thank you, but I’d prefer to be left alone and was called all sorts of names and he threw his drink at me. My friend referred to it as “Male enforcement over the female body” by telling her to smile because he’d rather see that. Normally I’d scoff at labeling it something like that, but it’s happened to both of us so many times that it’s got to be a pattern. That or we’re bitches who just scowl all the time 😛 I don’t care if I’m pretty to you, dude. I’m not here to look pretty to you, and I don’t need to smile just to please you. Please don’t try to tell me how to move my face. If you are truly worried whether I’m happy or not, your tone would reflect it and wouldn’t be condescending, random guy in bar. I did nothing wrong by not smiling, or ignoring those teenagers, and they attempted to manipulate me into feeling guilty by calling me names and throwing the drink at me. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty because I’m not returning some rando’s attentions…but there are men out there that think that we should, and those are the ones that think our bodies are public property. Humph >:(

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    • Taylor August 21, 2012, 3:34 pm

      WELL SAID.

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    • theattack August 21, 2012, 3:51 pm

      Telling people to smile is SO rude. I’ve said it here before, but a man told me “smile, you’ll look prettier” the day after my dog died and a month after my grandmother died. It shouldn’t be hard to understand that you don’t know what’s going on in somebody’s life, but men seem to think that their pleasure of seeing a pretty woman is more important than respecting individuals and keeping out of everybody else’s business. To a lot of men, they think they have the right to put their nose into a woman’s business, because women exist only to please them.

      You said everything so well.

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      • Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 4:06 pm

        So did you! Your last sentence had me going “YES! YES! YES!”

        But I swear it was just agreeing with you and I wasn’t having an orgasm…:-P

      • theattack August 21, 2012, 4:15 pm

        Haha, Thanks!

      • Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 4:08 pm

        “…but men seem to think that their pleasure of seeing a pretty woman is more important than respecting individuals and keeping out of everybody else’s business.”

        That needs to be on a t-shirt that I can wear to bars to make them stop doing that!!!

      • bethany August 21, 2012, 4:17 pm

        Uugh, that used to happen to me all the time, too. Like seriously, am I supposed to just walk around smiling all the time?! What’s wrong with a “neutral” face? And frankly, why is my face any of your damn business??

      • Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 4:26 pm

        One of those many times a guy told me that it took less muscles to smile (wow, because I’ve never heard THAT cliche before?!) than frown after I told him that’s just how my face was relaxed..I looked like I was frowning. Trying to convince me I’m wrong in how my face works is NOT FLIRTING.

        True story, I’m sitting here frowning, smiling and letting my face just hang out in neutral. I think my face may in fact be broken and doesn’t work normally because my neutral face looks angry, and then my frown, which yes, is harder to do than smile, looks like a pout.

      • CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 10:48 pm

        Me too! When I relax, the corners of my mouth turn down in a frown. I’ve tried explaining this to people numerous times.

      • theattack August 21, 2012, 5:32 pm

        But I’m sure if you walked around smiling all the time, you’d probably be insane. There’s really no winning. A neutral face should be totally fine.

      • Budj August 22, 2012, 1:16 pm

        actually…I think I remember reading that documented socio/psychopath serial killers tended to smile more often than not…keep that neutral face going.

    • GatorGirl August 21, 2012, 3:53 pm

      When my fiance is out of town I sleep with some sort of “weapon” in my nightstand. I also check every room, closet and under the bed everytime I come home and he isn’t already here. Obsessive- yes. But I’d rather be safe then sorry. He doesn’t like me running outside after dark either since we live “close” to an unsafe neighborhood.

      I’ve gotten the “your so much prettier with a smile” line a million times and it just makes me scowl more. It really bothers me that, as a younger fairly attractive woman, I can not go to a bar and have a drink in peace.

      It also drives me nuts that their is a gap I guess amongst sports fans. I know very few men who take me serious as a sports fan, even though I can talk for hours about the NFL and know more then the majority of male NFL fans I’ve met. But since I’m female I must just like watching the players butts in their tight pants. Not.

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      • Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 4:16 pm

        Last time he was out of town I slept with a light on and refused to let the dog sleep on the couch. It totally chased after him going “let me love you!!!!” trying to get him to sleep in the bedroom with me so I’d have him close if some wacko happened to get in. He ran away. The look his face was one of “dis bitch be crazy…”

        I grew up in the Bronx. My friends joke about how “ghetto” and “gangsta” I am and how if the opportunity comes up, I’m going to be the first one to “cut a bitch”. When I was growing up, drug deals went down on my street. From what my mom says, they still do and she takes great joy in calling the cops on them. You’d think I wouldn’t be this much of a fraidy cat…but I am.

        Once I stayed home sick and a Law and Order SVU marathon was on all day. When I heard my husband coming home that afternoon, I honest to god thought he was a rapist coming to get me. Maybe my problem isn’t that there are a lot of wackos in the world, it’s just that I watch way too much tv….

      • bethany August 21, 2012, 4:23 pm

        I used to sleep with a baseball bat under the bed, a knife under the mattress and mace on my bedside table.
        Now I’m down to just the bat- we have hardwood floors that make noise, and I’m a light sleeper. I figure I could position myself behind the door to the bedroom and knock the intruder out pretty easily before they would get to me. And I’m fully prepared to do so.

      • MMcG August 21, 2012, 4:38 pm

        I can out sports talk any guy… but they usually assume it’s going to happen because I’m originally from Philly and crazy Philly sports fans knows no gender barrier!

        The whole “our face is here for you” BS is the same type of crazy that leads women in certain countries to have to cover themselves from head to toe because it’s their fault if a man has impure thoughts looking at them. For such a “strong and powerful” gender, you wouldn’t think a woman’s frown would be so upsetting…

      • GatorGirl August 22, 2012, 1:50 pm

        I’m a crazy Philly sports fan too!! It drives me bonkers when male fans don’t take me seriously!

    • CatsMeow August 21, 2012, 4:00 pm

      I HATE when men tell me to smile when I obviously don’t feel like it. And it IS always men who do this, and it’s never from a place of genuine concern. When I get a “Smile,” it’s really hard for me to restrain my middle finger.

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    • Caris August 21, 2012, 6:34 pm

      Having some random guy telling me to smile is UGH so annoying. My neutral face is sort of a frown. So I always look mad when I walk, but that’s none of their business!

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  • Nina August 21, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Wendy, I LOVED this piece. I cried reading it, not because I am a basket case, but because it really speaks to me, speaks to all of us women; wether we are mothers, wives, single, young or old. It is a topic that is very close to my heart and personal experiences, and I find it heartbreaking that in 2012 this is the state of things in our “first world” country. We have so much, but there are so many who would willingly throw us back into the dark ages. As a result, it pains me to see women turn on eachother. We focus our anger and hurt in the wrong direction and isolate ourselves from our greatest resource and comrades-each other.

    I want to thank you for writing this. I want to thank you for speaking your mind, for adding your two cents, not just to friends and family, but putting it out there to the world-in an intelligent, thoughtful, and graceful way. We have come so far, and yet have so long to go. We need to do the seemingly impossible-evolve.

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  • Jessibel5 August 21, 2012, 3:51 pm

    This is another thing that baffles me:
    Before I got married, my boss kept telling me it would not be okay for me to get pregnant because I wasn’t married yet. Besides this being wildly inappropriate to talk about with me, it’s none of his business.

    Now that I’m married, any time I stay home sick, I come back to people telling me that some of the men in the office (I work with mostly men and the woman are in a different department) were placing bets as to if I was preggo or not.


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    • Caris August 21, 2012, 6:30 pm


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  • j2 August 21, 2012, 3:00 pm

    BTW, on Akin and the Democratic Party versus the Republican Party, the Washington Post reported yesterday that the Democratic Party groups spent more money supporting Akin than Akin’s own campaign did:

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  • MELH August 21, 2012, 5:59 pm

    Great piece Wendy.

    The whole time this Akin thing has been going on I’ve been thinking….regardless of what your political views are (and I think he’s an idiot and very wrong), shouldn’t everyone be concerned with electing an official who apparently has so little understanding of biology that he thinks your body can somehow sense the difference between rape and regular sex and prevent pregnancy. I mean, what the hell other crazy, misguided views about actual facts does this guy have?

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    • Taylor August 22, 2012, 9:00 am

      Agreed. I think you should have to pass some kind of standardized science test before being allowed to run for office. It should weed out some of the wackos. Basic biology, anatomy, chemistry, and a chunk of questions about the environment.

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      • AmyRenee August 23, 2012, 8:30 am

        “Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue. In what other profession would you brag about not knowing stuff? “I’m not one of those fancy Harvard heart surgeons. I’m just an unlicensed plumber with a dream and I’d like to cut your chest open.” The crowd cheers.”
        ― Tina Fey, Bossypants

        I don’t get the “I’m dumb just like you, elect me, I’m a good old boy” political cry. Seriously? I want the people making decisions for me to have a brain and be able to think critically. I don’t think thats too much to ask.

  • painted_lady August 21, 2012, 7:28 pm

    Thanks for saying all of this so beautifully, Wendy. You articulated a lot of what I’ve never been able to about the difficulties of being a woman in this country right now all in one fantastic essay.

    I know you’ve said before that you don’t want to delve too far into political discussions on the site, but I also think sometimes in maintaining neutrality for the sake of remaining civil, one can imply consent and agreement. There’s politics, sure, but there’s also right and wrong, and you are very clearly right here.

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  • Imsostartled August 21, 2012, 7:57 pm

    Fabulous piece Wendy!!! Loved it! 😀

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  • Lynn August 21, 2012, 8:33 pm

    After reading this article and the comments accompanying it… the only thing I have to say is that all us women (and men) have truly lived different lives, and because we have… our opinions, priorities, goals and the way we behave in general have been molded by it.

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    • savannah August 22, 2012, 4:18 pm

      I think you’re talking about privilege. Life is great when your ‘opinions, priorities, goals and the way we behave in general’ are the status quo.

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  • temperance August 21, 2012, 11:25 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve been feeling very … defeated lately, for lack of a better word. Those comments absolutely disgusted me, and seeing that Paul Ryan tried to REDEFINE RAPE with that man cemented in my mind that certain political figures really hate women. Period.

    I don’t talk about this often, but I did on the forms. I worked in DV as an intern, helping to write petitions and interviewing victims, including child victims. Seeing other women stand up for each other here has been absolutely heartening, although seeing men tear us down has been hard.

    So, thanks Wendy. I needed this today.

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  • jumper August 21, 2012, 11:48 pm

    You know, one of the things I really liked about DearWendy was that it was apolitical. No one put labels on things, we just discussed our opinions. And up until halfway through this article, I agreed with nearly everything Wendy had to say. But then, after bemoaning how she is caricatured and stereotyped as a woman, she then states that every single person who identifies as a Republican is apparently a woman-hating chauvinist who wants to control women -“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.”

    AWESOME. Thanks. That’s really not unfair AT ALL. Go ahead, complain about ALL REPUBLICANS, or anybody who votes Republican and not Democrat. We are all the same, and all have the same evil goals. Excuse me, isn’t that the same kind of logic people use when they objectify women? That they are easily pegged by a label and not worthy of individual consideration? It’s nice to know that at your forum, I can feel safe as a woman, but villified, judged, and stereotyped as a usually-Republican.

    I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of asshole Republicans. But that is an equal opportunity problem. One of the points of my poli sci thesis (oh shit, an educated woman who usually votes Republican!) was that one of the markers of political experience and success is the ability to empathize with the rationale an opponent believes justifies his or her stance, even if you disagree. Obviously this has limits (the aforementioned incredibly crass senator). But I definitely don’t see this skill displayed in Wendy’s essay. I understand you disagree with several prominent Republican talking points. But instead of seeing the party as a varied field that composes nearly half of politically active individuals, you see them as a monolithic group whose goal is your subjugation. I understand you likely disagree with the rationale about the protection of life as a motivator to limit abortion; I don’t expect you to agree! But instead of saying, “1) this one guy is an asshole, 2) I think Republicans are wrong, but 3) they are doing it because of their opinions about the definition of life, even if it’s silly etc,” you assume that pro-lifers, etc, are driven by hatred of women. Well, that’s a great self-serving argument. That way we don’t have to debate at which point the right a woman to control her reproduction (which I very much respect, I hand out OCPs at work like they’re candy) is unfortunately trumped by the presence of another life, if at all. We can just ignore any legitimate conversation because those pro-lifers are just woman-hating scumbags. How sad.

    And the irony here is that you weakened your actually REALLY IMPORTANT point about the need for change in our COMBINED American culture. You call for unity to change norms of behavior and then deride half of America as the enemy. I understand the passion and anger. But sometimes, HOW you fight for something is just as important as what you’re fighting for. And by crassly savaging instead of reaching out to Republicans for common ground, you’ve shot the legs out of your own solidarity argument. Well, you’re a Democrat, so you probably think all guns are evil. Nevermind.

    Sincerely, “A woman who was fed the bullshit and ate it up with a spoon, just like the GOP wanted. “

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    • Wendy August 22, 2012, 6:08 am

      I’m actually a registered independent, and nowhere in my essay say that I am a democrat. But if I were to choose between the republican party and the democrat party, I’d definitely go with the group who has fewer people trying to limit women’s control over their own health care. I’d also support the party that is most likely to legalize same sex marriage.

      I don’t think all republicans are bad people. Not at all. Half my family vote republican. But if this essay in any way made you feel ashamed of your party, then great; I did my job. And I hope that my republican readers will vote with their conscious and not party affiliation in order to keep the sexist, uninformed morons out of office.

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    • Wendy August 22, 2012, 6:21 am

      Oh, and where in my essay did I say or even imply that “pro-lifers are driven by hatred of women”? I don’t think that at all. It’s obvious you feel attacked by my essay and I can understand why, but don’t put words in my mouth in an effort to weaken my argument and defend yourself. There are enough “legitimate” claims I make here for you to unpack and argue without making up points I don’t believe and sure ass shit didn’t write.

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    • MMcG August 22, 2012, 9:53 am

      You can judge an entire party based on their agreed upon, voted on, party platform that they take to the convention… and the republicans just agreed to a pro-life platform that didn’t include ANY EXCEPTIONS TO ABORTION FOR RAPE.
      A Republican Party committee on Tuesday embraced anti-abortion language it has used in its platform since 2004, with no mention of exceptions for rape or incest, as one of its Senate candidates was widely condemned over his comments about rape.

      The anti-abortion language was approved by the platform panel with little discussion and is nearly identical to what was in the Republican platform in 2008 and 2004.

      It was adopted on a day in which the issue of abortion was making unwanted headlines for Republicans because of controversial comments about rape made over the weekend by U.S. Representative Todd Akin, a Senate candidate in Missouri.

      The committee also called for a “human life amendment” to the U.S. Constitution in the party’s 2012 platform.
      It’s not painting people with a broad brush, it’s what the party believes (at least since much of the pro-life/personhood type language was added to the platform in 2004)… I almost feel bad for the fiscal conservative Republican whose party has been completely taken over by social issues… Almost.

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      • iseeshiny August 22, 2012, 10:04 am

        Well said.

    • temperance August 22, 2012, 10:48 am

      When the Democratic party starts introducing legislation to redefine rape to make it harder for women to prove they’ve been assaulted, I’ll agree with you. When the Democratic party tries to make my birth control ILLEGAL TO OBTAIN, I’ll agree with you. I don’t care if these things failed to pass, it’s the IDEA of them that is dangerous, and they are subtly chipping away at my rights as a whole person. There is no common ground when I can’t make my own damn choices without some strange man finger waving at me and making his call about MY body.

      Until then, I feel very comfortable asserting that Republicans hate women and are waging a war on us.

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  • DMR August 22, 2012, 7:33 am

    Maybe I’ve got this all wrong, but the way I read this article – particularly the conclusion of it – is basically “vote for Obama because Democrats believe in the right to have abortions.” Yeah, well. As an atheist libertarian, I take the Christopher Hitchens view on abortion. That is, fetuses are genetically humans, even if they aren’t yet conscious. Also, pregnancy isn’t an illness, which kind of invalidates the notion that abortions are “health care”, unless the pregnancy is a complicated one (a situation in which abortions should definitely be allowed).

    Besides which, there are other political issues. Sure, the Republicans are too much in the sway of religious nuttery, but on the other hand, they tend to stick up for capitalism (ie the system which made America wealthy). Choose your poison.

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    • Wendy August 22, 2012, 7:50 am

      Yeah, I’m gonna choose the poison that doesn’t force rape survivors to give birth to their rapists’ babies.

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    • Wendy August 22, 2012, 7:52 am

      And if you truly believe that only “illnesses” require medical attention (i.e. pregnancy isn’t a “health care” issue if there aren’t complications), then do you also believe that pregnant women should forgo prenatal HEALTH CARE? Pregnancy is absolutely, 100% a health care issue, whether there are complications or not, and denying a woman who has been raped the right to terminate a resulting pregnancy is absolutely infringing on her rights to make her own health care decisions.

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      • DMR August 22, 2012, 8:08 am

        I’m not against abortion, but don’t think it’s a right worth tub-thumping about. It does involve taking a human life, after all. The idea that it’s simply about a ‘woman’s body’ is simplistic. There are quite literally two bodies involved, not one.

      • iseeshiny August 22, 2012, 8:46 am

        I’m not against [something I really won’t ever need] but I don’t think it’s a right worth tub thumping about.

      • bittergaymark August 22, 2012, 2:05 pm

        Trust me A LOT of STUPID men I know sure felt they NEEDED an abortion when they got saddled with a whoopsie baby because of what I can only assume was mutual stupidity on the part of both (semi) involved parties… At any rate, to say that abortion is simply a woman’s issue misses a much larger point. Eradicating abortion certainly will have a dramatic effect on men, too.

        That said, I don’t see DMR’s logic here at all though.

        Obvious Clarification: the use of (semi) is me being clever by making a pun regarding the barely there… aka (semi)involved status of the relationship that produced a baby. That so many straights are so wantonly reckless and stupid is one of the biggest downfalls of modern society.

      • iseeshiny August 23, 2012, 9:04 am

        Absolutely. But I don’t think it will affect DMR specifically at all. IIRC he’s not likely to be getting anyone pregnant. (Yes, I know you aren’t either, but I just mean it’s really easy to say “I’m against this thing” when it’s not a thing you’ll ever need. I’m sure you can relate.)

        (I’m going to leave that ‘straights’ thing alone, because it will suck the energy out of me.)

      • Wendy August 22, 2012, 9:05 am

        So, a woman who is raped and gets pregnant should be forced to spend the next nine months carrying that baby to term and then make the gut-wrenching decision whether to raise her rapists’ baby or give it up for adoption because the right to choose abortion isn’t a right worth fighting for, even if you are pro-choice. Is that really what you’re saying?

        I understand that to you, there are issues that are much more important that a woman’s right to choose her own health care options. I respect that (I mean, I respect your right to choose what it important to you; I don’t respect that women’s issues are of so little value, though). But to me, and thank God to many others, this is an issue that is VERY important. For many of us, we understand that by stripping a woman’s basic rights and freedoms, there an implicit message sent to the citizens of our country that women aren’t important. The issue of their rights aren’t important enough to focus on when casting votes. That message is filtered down through out society to young girls and boys still in their formative years, as well as to those men on the street making comments at every woman who walks by like our bodies are up for public discourse.

      • theattack August 22, 2012, 1:35 pm

        Way to bring it full circle! Go Wendy!

      • Amanda November 6, 2012, 1:04 pm


      • ele4phant August 22, 2012, 1:48 pm

        There may be two “bodies” involved, but one of those bodies is depending on the other to support it. If the woman, the one giving the life support, does not wish to continue doing so, she should not be forced to. People talk about fetuses like they are entirely separate from women’s bodies, as though she has nothing really to do with it, they just inhabit the same space. Pregnancy has a substantial impact on a woman and her body, and if she isn’t willing to take on that burden, she shouldn’t be forced to.

      • DMR August 23, 2012, 6:08 am

        So, a woman who is raped and gets pregnant should be forced to spend the next nine months carrying that baby to term and then make the gut-wrenching decision whether to raise her rapists’ baby or give it up for adoption because the right to choose abortion isn’t a right worth fighting for, even if you are pro-choice. Is that really what you’re saying?


        I think you’re choosing an extreme anti-abortion position and using that as a proxy for everyone who doesn’t support abortion in all circumstances for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy. There are a range of other middle-ground positions in between “it’s always okay” and “it’s never okay.”

        Plus, the example of rape is a highly emotionally charged one and therefore not helpful for any kind of discussion, since this issue is already supercharged and bringing rape into it just tips it over the edge. Your logic (about forcing a woman to go through with the pregnancy) isn’t unique to rape victims; it applies to any pregnancy, just with added emotional force in the case of rape.

        Should women be ‘forced’ to go through pregnancy? Well, the flip side of the question is, should women be allowed to kill their unborn fetuses? For me, the answer to both is ‘sometimes.’

      • jlyfsh August 23, 2012, 8:43 am

        It’s nice to know that you think women should be forced to go through pregnancy. Convenient since you yourself don’t ever have to make that choice.

      • DMR August 23, 2012, 8:56 am

        Basically I’m against very late term abortions. This really isn’t an exceptional position, most people are against that. But hey, if you think fetuses can be killed even within 24 hours prior to birth, go right ahead and say so.

      • jlyfsh August 23, 2012, 9:01 am

        you did not mention late term pregnancies in your last sentence. you did mention them above in another comment but not here. and that is not what i said in my sentence. i said forced to go through pregnancy.

      • savannah August 23, 2012, 9:06 am

        seeing as how you emphasis the grey in this debate you should know that very late term abortions are extremely rare, almost never the wish of the parents, and generally tragic on all sides. In states where they have been outlawed or at least been made very very hard to get women often have to go through the same trauma of any still born birth while worrying the whole time about her own health as well. I agree that most people are against it, but appreciate that it is ‘sometimes’ (as you say) medically necessary, and is hardly a welcomed outcome of the pregnancy by the parents or the physicians who perform the procedure.

      • jlyfsh August 23, 2012, 9:22 am

        i agree as mentioned above by taramonster late term abortions make up 1.5% of all abortions and are used in cases where the child has severe abnormalities, is incompatible with life outside of the womb (imagine being told that one, i have had friends hear that) or both lives are at risk and the mother has the better chance of living.

        and those are not the cases that people are talking about. but, for some reason people enjoy focusing on those select few cases in order to make it seem like every woman who has an abortion will wait until then to have one.

        and imagine now a law is drafted and passed that makes abortions illegal. you are then told at 20 weeks that your child will never live outside of you. unless the fetus has died, that woman would need an abortion. would she be allowed to have now that the law is in place? or is she now forced to carry to term and deliver a baby that will die within in a short time. is that really our decision to force on another person?

      • ele4phant August 23, 2012, 10:52 am

        Yeah, it bugs me when people, in this case DMR, well what about if she wants to abort the day before she’s due?

        She doesn’t. If a pregnancy gets that far, RARELY (like never) do women actually want to end the pregnancy. If you know you’re not interested in being pregnant, you’re not going to wait around for 6+ months to do something about it. Bringing this up is just a way to score points on a situation that rarely comes up in reality.

        And I do think there is a point, when the fetus could potentially be viable outside of the mother (my whole argument about not being forced to support a life if you’re not willing), maybe no more abortion.

    • ChemE August 22, 2012, 9:31 am

      Please define “complicated”
      Do you refer to physical complicated where a woman may die if she carries the baby to term?
      The emotional complicated where a woman was raped and is emotionally messed up from having to carry the baby of someone who violated her?
      The complicated where the pregnancy is completely healthy, but the mother is sick and needs a separate illness treated that will endanger the baby?
      Complicated where a woman who took all measures to protect herself unwillingly became pregnant when those methods failed and can’t financially take care of the baby (and a million other reasons)?
      Complicated where a young girl is coerced into having sex with someone in her family/older than her?
      Complicated like a woman who can’t afford birth control gets pregnant? (which I assume you would say she shouldn’t have sex, to which I say do you ONLY have sex with the intentions of making babies?)
      Which is it? Who are you (and our lawmakers) to decide which situations are valid reasons for me to have a medical procedure performed? I should have the freedom to decide what is right for ME.

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      • DMR August 23, 2012, 6:21 am

        Yeah, all that. It’s all complicated. But at some point in the pregnancy the fetus starts to become indistinguishable from an actual baby.

        A baby that is born 24 hours early, is physically and mentally indistinguishable from a baby that will be born in 24 hours time. Why is one’s life sacrosanct, while the other is not? Only because of some superstitious belief that life begins at birth. It doesn’t. Humans develop incrementally, before and after the moment of birth (which shifts around a lot anyway due to early and late pregnancies), right up to adulthood. Birth’s just an arbitrary line in the sand.

        So then you have to ask, when’s your cutoff. If “birth”, why? There are no really defensible reasons for that cutoff over any other.

      • iseeshiny August 23, 2012, 10:11 am

        …which is why the only abortions after 21 weeks are in order to protect the mother’s health. I think the earliest a fetus can live outside the womb (making it a baby, not a fetus) is 23 weeks.

        Really, DMR. Nobody’s going to have an abortion at 39 weeks. We call those Cesarians.

      • iseeshiny August 23, 2012, 10:32 am

        Er, that’s actually just the law in my state. But anyway, my point is that people don’t wait until they go into labor to decide they changed their minds and actually want an abortion.

      • jlyfsh August 23, 2012, 10:58 am

        yeah and technically 24 hours early would be 36 weeks 6 days, right? if we’re talking in terms of a woman being full term. what woman is going to choose to go through 36 weeks of pregnancy and then abort the baby?

        it’s like people choose to flame this political debate by talking about late term abortions which aren’t used unless it’s about the health of the mother or the viability of the fetus/baby and use it as a reason all abortions should be banned. late term abortions are already banned in most states. let’s talk about the fact that they’re trying to tell women who are 4 weeks or 8 weeks along that they too have no choice. that is a moral issue only to be decided by the people it impacts. our personal views do not belong in that discussion.

      • iseeshiny August 23, 2012, 11:07 am

        Right? I get the feeling that this is maybe the first time DMR is having this discussion with actual women with opposing viewpoints, because he’s focusing on all of the ridiculous, outlandish stuff. Either that or he’s just trolling, but whatever. If he is trolling he’s just making us look good 🙂

      • iwannatalktosampson August 23, 2012, 11:22 am

        Okay personal pet peeve here – just because someone has a different opinion than you does not make them a troll. DMR comments on many letters and not just political ones. Not just ones against women. He is a commenter on this site and if you keep up on DW you would know that. I think it’s really condescending to call someone a troll just because they don’t agree with the popular opinion. Opinions are opinions for a reason – you can’t prove them – they aren’t fact. Sure you can debate opinions and what yours is based off of – but when it comes down to it you can’t say your opinion is right and his is wrong.

        I love that people have different opinions and frankly this site wouldn’t exist if everyone felt the exact same about every situation. Please don’t try to shame other commenters into feeling uncomfortable commenting. BGM the other day was even called a troll – and he comments very regularly – does he have strong opinions? Yes. Do a lot (most) people on this site disagree with him? Yes. But how does that make him a troll? He doesn’t come here to start drama. He comes here to voice an unspoken opinion and share his views on a situation.

      • iseeshiny August 23, 2012, 11:49 am

        I understand your frustration, in that calling someone a troll is in a lot of places an easy way to discount what they say without needing to address whatever it is they’re saying.

        I take issue with you choosing my post up there to call out what you view as a common problem, because that’s most emphatically not what I was doing. I will admit that I’m more likely to comment when I disagree with what someone is saying, and just give a thumbs up when I agree, but I don’t think I’m high profile enough to keep anyone from ever coming back or posting a comment.

        I like how you imply that I don’t keep up with DW enough to know that DMR is a regular commenter, or that being a regular(ish) commenter somehow means he’s incapable of trolling for a reaction. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but DMR’s comments tend to be pretty inflammatory at times.

        So. Sorry I set off your pet peeve. I’ll keep that in mind next time I use the word troll.

      • iwannatalktosampson August 23, 2012, 12:08 pm

        You’re right I should have made it more clear that you are not the only one that has used troll in a condescending way. I actually think this is the first time I’ve seen you use it – so I apologize for making a blanket statement in response to you – but I didn’t know where else to put it.

        His comments are inflammatory to you because you strongly disagree with him. That’s fine – but it still doesn’t make him a troll. And frankly anyone that has ever been on a comment thread on a website knows that calling someone a troll is name calling. Plain and simple. There is no difference (to me) between calling someone a troll and calling them an uninformed drama starter.

      • iseeshiny August 23, 2012, 12:25 pm

        It’s cool, you made a very valid point and I did get defensive because I felt like it was aimed at me, especially because I feel like I make a point of addressing actions rather than name calling (you’re trolling vs. you’re a troll).

        Regardless, I think we both want the same thing, which is a respectful space where people with different views can differentview all over each other without it getting personal.

    • ele4phant August 22, 2012, 2:00 pm

      I don’t know about Wendy, but the Democrats attitudes towards pro-choice and women’s health care issues are not, by the far, the only reason I plan to vote for them. Pretty much everything about the current Republican platform goes against my values.

      However, you can bet that those lady issues are still important to me, and yes, effect how I view the GOP.

      And pregnancy is natural, so its not a healtcare issue? WTF? Do you know how much monitoring and doctors appointments pregnant women have, even if its a totally routine and healthy pregnancy? Pregnancy used to come with some pretty heavy risks (like death), and the reason they are now usually non-complicated is BECAUSE of advancements in medical care. Sheesh.

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      • DMR August 23, 2012, 8:39 am

        “And pregnancy is natural, so its not a healtcare issue? WTF?”

        Abortion is sometimes about health care, but it isn’t always. For example, if it’s performed for financial reasons (such as worrying about the financial cost of the child), then that’s a financial decision, not a ‘health care’ event.

      • savannah August 23, 2012, 8:46 am

        So you would say the same thing about vasectomies then too?

      • DMR August 23, 2012, 9:12 am

        yeah, I guess so! Good point.

      • ele4phant August 23, 2012, 11:23 am

        They may make the decision based less on medical reasons than for others, but its still a medical procedure. And if she were to go through with the pregnancy, you can be sure as shit there would be implications for her health. Just because its not her primary reason, she’s still avoiding any health risks that her pregnancy could have brought on.

        Do you not consider birth control to be a healthcare issue, to be preventative care? There too, most women take bc not for medical reasons, but again, not being pregnant (or delaying it until a time of your choosing) comes with some pretty big health implications.

  • jlyfsh August 22, 2012, 8:20 am

    I was thinking about this more last night after reading another article and maybe the article mentions this or maybe the law does and I haven’t done enough research. But, who decides if it was rape? And what factors have to be there in order for it to be given the ok with this law. Do women have to choose to take their attacker to court? What if there isn’t enough evidence? What if he got away and can’t be found. Will there be a rush on all rape cases so that they can be moved through before the woman got to a certain point in her pregnancy? And who are these people who decide. Is it left to one judge, will there be a panel who looks at all evidence. And who is going to pay these people and how much of a financial burden will enforcing this law be?

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    • jlyfsh August 22, 2012, 8:34 am

      and my browser at home is very upset by the number of comments i believe haha, so i can’t open both dear wendy and the other article. and i have to leave for work. but, it’s from mommyish.

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      • AmyRenee August 23, 2012, 12:40 pm

        Very true, very good article. After all, how old was the baby in question by the time Roe v Wade was settled? What good is it to have a rape exemption if you have to first prove you were raped?

      • jlyfsh August 23, 2012, 3:27 pm

        that’s it, thank you! my computer still won’t let me open it while dear wendy is open, haha. poor slow computer!

  • BlessedToBeLivingInEurope August 22, 2012, 12:35 pm

    I thank my lucky stars every day that I live in a European country, where:

    – you cannot buy a gun and ammunition in a supermarket,
    – nudity is not always equated with sex,
    – the majority of the population is tolerant and liberal-minded,
    – we have gay marriage,
    – I have paid maternity leave, should I need it,
    – I have paid annual leave,
    – I have labour laws that protect my position at work if I was to have a baby,
    – I have a social system that looks after me, should I need it.

    I feel for you, women who live in the USA. And I thank my lucky stars again.

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    • SpaceySteph August 22, 2012, 4:50 pm

      I was watching a British TV show on netflix about people who survive a pandemic flu. And what struck me is how ridiculous their views on guns were. Only the few thugs had guns, and when one of the protagonists got hold of one, they all acted like he was a crazy person for using the gun to defend the group.

      So while some of what you list is good, the idea of facing down life where only criminals have guns actually sounds scary. I would prefer to keep buying my bullets at Wal Mart.

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      • bittergaymark August 23, 2012, 12:03 am

        It sure worked out great in Aurora. And a week or so later in Wisconsin…

      • Brad August 23, 2012, 12:30 am

        Yes because banning guns does a real good job of stopping tragedy … oh wait…






        And oh by the way, pistols are outlawed in all of these places.

        People REALLY need to stop blaming guns when tragedy happens. People kill people, it’s that simple. There are bad people in this world who like to do bad things. Period. Nobody needs a gun to kill a lot of people like the idiot in China proved. Criminals, wait for it, commit crimes. Who’s surprised? Anyone? No…? Do guns make it a little easier to commit them? Sure. This is an imperfect world we live in and bad things are going to happen to good people. Doesn’t matter what laws you have in place, it doesn’t matter what precautions you take, and it doesn’t matter what color or gender you are, evil exists. And it will continue to exist until the end of time.

        We’re all just as capable as the criminals are to learn how to use guns/knives/karate. Arming yourself is one of the ways you can reduce your chances of being the victim of a crime. I for one am not the sort of people to want to trust and depend on some other person to protect me. That’s why I own guns. That’s why I own knives. If you want to put all your proverbial eggs into the police basket, then that’s your choice. Just remember, when seconds count … the police are just a few minutes away.

      • Lydia August 23, 2012, 6:42 am

        You can never completely AVOID tragedy, but you can sure reduce the amount of tragedies. I live in the Netherlands, and in the past few years, we’ve had a grand total of ONE gun related massacre. And that guy wasn’t supposed to have weapons in the first place. Compare this to the USA, where a mass shooting seems to happen at least once a week…

        And you can’t equate knives with guns, because knives have a shorter range, so it simply takes a LOT more time to kill the amount of people with a knife that you could with a gun.

      • Brad August 23, 2012, 10:34 am

        I think comparing the Netherlands to the USA is an apples to oranges comparison. The population numbers, population density of our cities, cultural differences, and a whole host of other variables (both known and unknown to me) make it hard to compare the two.

        Also, mass shootings against random civilians do not happen at least once a week in the USA. They’re actually quite rare, which is why they become such media sensations. The other reason why guns have the impression of being so dangerous to the lives of innocent civilians is because the major media companies ideologically are against guns, so their bias seeps into their broadcasts. One little known fact is that suicides account for the majority of gun related deaths in the US (roughly 55%). Now in certain locations there are frequent crimes where guns are involved, but those are largely in densely populated, low economic-status urban areas (where it’s almost always illegal to own a gun for the record). These cases are mostly gang and drug related (a problem many northern European countries do not share to the degree the US does).

        “And you can’t equate knives with guns, because knives have a shorter range, so it simply takes a LOT more time to kill the amount of people with a knife that you could with a gun.” I think you’re distracting away from the point I’m making. The point I’m making is that a reduced access to 1 type of tool (which essentially is all a gun is) isn’t going to prevent any significant amount of violence, as seems to be the commonly held belief. Violent criminals that want to use violence are going to do so regardless of whether or not they have access to guns. And let’s face it, criminals will always have access to them. Like it or not, guns have been manufactured worldwide for over 100 years in large quantities. The US could ban the manufacture, possession, and sale of ALL guns today and it would have little effect. Look at Mexico for example. It’s illegal to own guns in Mexico, but that hasn’t stopped the drug cartels from accessing military grade weapons that they’ve been using against the police and Mexican military since 2006. There are some towns close to the US boarder that have NO police force because the local drug cartels keep murdering them. Some of the mayors of these border towns live in the USA out of fear of these cartels. To date there have been over 50,000 innocent civilian deaths caught up in this drug war. So gun control isn’t the answer so many seem to think it is. You can also look at the crime rates in England if you don’t want to take my word for it. They banned guns 20 years ago and their crime rates haven’t gone in any significant amount.

        Also, the Oklahoma city and 9/11 terrorist attacks sure killed a lot more people than any gun massacre ever did and they didn’t use guns. Really strong gun control/banning guns is not the solution to preventing tragedy. All strong gun control does is limit the ability for honest people to acquire the means to defend themselves with.

      • Budj August 23, 2012, 8:51 am

        I agree with you, Brad. Criminals break the law…if they want/need a gun and it is illegal they will still get a gun…it’s not like they will suddenly stop assaulting people with guns and use knives instead (some will, sure…pick your poison on knife or shooting deaths/injuries though – which hurts less…?) – or – stop massacring people with assault rifles…

        It also really depends on the area you live in too. My brother works in a company that has people from all over the US deploying people all over the US. He ended up meeting and befriending a guy from a really rural area in Nebraska or Wyoming…can’t remember exactly, haha, but when you call the cops they have a 30 minute minimum lead time so I think people tend to be more likely to be armed/pro-arms depending on their living situation too.

      • Brad August 23, 2012, 10:47 am

        Is the show you’re talking about called Survivors? I’ve seen it in my suggested list but I haven’t watched it.

  • clancy August 22, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Great way for so many of your commenters to get off topic. but… isn’t that what they’re led to do?

    My main problem with all of the problems listed in this piece is… we are 53% of the voting population in this country… why aren’t we taking issue with that?? We complain about politics, stupid, moron politicians… but WE are voting them in! I guess there has never been a female rape in Missouri. Lucky them! They won’t have to hope that their special pussy powers take over and kill that bad sperm…. sometimes I wonder about just giving up and, once I can retire (if the republicans don’t blow that too)move to a country more female progressive. I mean, hell… even Ireland with all of it’s issues has had at least 2 female presidents…. unreal.

    My mom worked, went back to work when I was about 3 or 4 months old, she did that for all 3 of us. She was mostly lucky in that she had some elderly family willing to watch us (for money… but that’s another story). She worked two jobs as did my father at points. So those of you whining about having kids or having a job should shove it. Have a kid and stay home if you want to… most cant.

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  • mzhummina August 22, 2012, 1:13 pm

    My response to the actual article and not tangental offshoots:

    “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 … 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.
    Crime against women happens everywhere, and an estimated 32,000 times a year it results in pregnancy.”

    As someone who has been a victim of sexual violence and has lived in small cities and large cities (now), I am not scared when I walk down the street at night. I learned a long time ago that I am only a victim as long as I let fear rule my life. That said, being proactive and offensive about your own safety is your duty as a person who lives in a violent society. Is it right that you should have to be on your guard all the time? No. Should you be able to walk down the street without being harrassed? Yes. But that isn’t our current reality. So, put your big girl panties on and start being your own superhero. If that means owning a gun, so be it. If that means carrying mace, so be it. BE YOUR OWN SUPERHERO.

    That said, if you are a victim of violence, either sexual or non-sexual, FIGHT. Fight for your dignity. Fight to bring the perpetrator to justice. Fight to get professional help. Fight the urge to let one person turn you into a life long victim.

    If you end up pregnant, make a choice based on your own beliefs. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your body. Don’t let me tell you or your family tell you or anyone tell you. You sure as shit shouldn’t let some politicians tell you what to do. In the words of Wendy “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.”

    As for the other issues Wendy addressed:
    “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.”

    Again, having a child is (for the most part) a choice. Sex has consequences. One consequence is the illness known as childbirth. In the words of my Great Granny Olmstead, “Honey, if there is a man around, you are always in danger.” Before you had a child you knew that the United States doesn’t allow for the same kind of paid pregnancy leave that many other first world countries enjoy. (See: Women everywhere should be fighting for these rights BEFORE getting pregnant NOT after getting pregnant. Go into politics. Be a thorn in the side of male political figures everywhere. Again, put your big girl panties on and start being your own superhero.

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  • Samantha August 23, 2012, 9:51 am

    I’m not even reading these comments. All I want to say is, I’m with you girl. And I’m sure as hell fighting back to. For me, for you, for my mom, for my daughter. I’m fighting.

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  • Erin August 25, 2012, 7:55 am

    Dear Wendy,

    A great friend of mine shared the link to your forum with me. She did this after reading my very first blog post, which was ignited after seeing the comments about “legitimate rape”. The blog is called findingmyvoicebyerin and my first posting, This morning’s tea… “legitimate rape,” can be found here:

    I don’t understand how our country ended up going backwards. It just doesn’t make sense. I plan to do something about it. I want to empower other women to do something about it. I’ve been spending the last couple days thinking about what that ‘something’ is and when I figure it out, I plan to let the world know.

    Thank you for sharing your opinions and for empowering others to do the same.


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  • Doug September 2, 2012, 4:04 pm

    Someone posted this on Reddit, and while I agree with your political views on a woman’s right to her body it’s also highly insulting to read your views on men in the fourth and fifth paragraph. Perhaps you should consider how yourself,the media, and so many women continue to vilify almost all men as predators in such broad sweeping strokes. You do imply that most men walking the streets at night are potential threats, though less so when alone, and sadly this just isn’t true and you know it. Just consider this. A woman who shares your views could easily view your husband as a potential threat if their paths crossed on a sidewalk at night, were he alone, and that assumption would be completely fabricated and untrue. You know he’s a good man, but the stranger who shares you beliefs does not. That’s all I’m trying to say. Not all of us men are “bad guys”, and take a look at your rhetoric again and see if you can understand where I’m coming from.

    I’m the same age, live in Chicago, and it’s sad so many women feel this way about men. I work in the media, studied feminist film theory in college, lived with a gay woman 10 years my junior in my 30’s, and I’ll even admit publicly that I love my mother even if she drives me f’ing mad at times. Hell, I’m not even a Republican! Given your belief system, I’d be seen as a potential threat if our paths crossed at night on the street, and that’s what I have an issue with. Yes, I’m not an idiot, and I know why you feel the way you do. Being aware and proactive is far better than being paranoid and fearful. There’s plenty of great guys out there, you met your husband after all, so all I’m saying is don’t compartmentalize us all into one convenient category.

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    • ele4phant September 2, 2012, 4:31 pm

      Doug, you sound like a great guy. Someone who would never pose a threat to a woman.

      But just passing you on the street, how would I know that? Without talking to you, without knowing your history, how am I, or any woman, supposed to know you’re one of the good ones? We can’t know just by looking at you.

      Given the choice between being too cautious and branding a good guy as a threat or being to trusting and assumming a bad guy is safe, guess what most women will choose?

      Personally, most often when I wander the street, I don’t give passing guys a second thought, because if all the other variables surrounding me suggest I am in a safe environment, I won’t be worried about finding myself in a bad situation. But when I find myself where conditions seem less safe (maybe somewhere at night, when I’m alone, somewhere unlight), I’m going to air on the side of caution and treat every guy I see as a potential threat. Most women kow logically most of them are not, but given the context, they’re not taking chances. If a guy does approach me in such a situation, or cat-calls me, guess what, I’m going to further think he could be a problem.

      Quite frankly, your post just reinforces that even the “best” guys can’t ever entirely understand what its like to be a woman, to walk in her shoes late at night by herself.

      Sorry if it hurts your feelings, but my sense of safety is more important to me.

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  • Beth September 3, 2012, 12:28 pm

    It fascinates me that some still think a woman has to stay home. I recently found out I was pregnant. I found out later into the pregnancy than expected, as I have been on birth control since I was 17. As a single mom, I do not have the luxury to stay home from work. I will need to work. I plan on spending as much time with my child as possible when I am not working, and I know the situation will be extremely difficult, but I decided to keep my child. As Americans, we have so much effin money in our society that no woman should ever fear poverty due to a child, she should be blessed with love and support.

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  • Sue Jones November 6, 2012, 12:06 pm

    Ironically, in those “darned Socialist” countries where women get 1 year paid maternity leave, get to keep their jobs and universal healthcare, there are LESS abortions and MORE women staying home with their kids during the early years. Seems the right wingers are misguided on all counts here.

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  • bittergaymark November 6, 2012, 2:44 pm

    But maybe…maybe a baby is just God’s miraculous way of saying “I’m sorry” to the rape victim?

    I kid, I kid.

    Still, it IS scary to think that I’m pretty sure that… somewhere… some DUMB male politician has probably suggested as much. Probably more than one… Yikes..

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