A sudden wave of tolerance is sweeping the country, it would seem. State after state is legalizing gay marriage, and even the monstrous Darth Cheney (whose daughter is gay and in a long-term committed relationship) has recently reiterated his tepid support for it.
As people who read my posts regularly are aware, I could not be MORE in favor of gay marriage. But at the same time, I am wondering:
Is yet another minority group, the LGBT Community, going to get equal rights before the biggest majority group in America – those of us who possess those famously scary ladyparts? And if so, what does that say about women and the feminist movement in general?
Is THIS really the face of feminism?
For those in favor of women’s rights, the first 100 days of the Obama administration has been like a honeymoon. We’ve continually been reminded why we fell in love in the first place. Coming off an eight-year abusive relationship (to put it mildly), none of Obama’s kindnesses are lost on us. He seems to be the kind of guy who does what he says he’s going to do, another relief. And his gifts have not just been for the pro-choice movement either. Nearly all of Obama’s actions on reproductive rights to date have focused on preventing the need for abortion, one of his “common ground” issues. And while he’s won no fans in traditional pro-life groups, it’s an approach the majority of pro-life Americans want.
Gag me with a Ginsu, ladies!
While I could berate and deride today’s “feminists” forever, one need only look at the state of women’s equality in America to see how toothless the movement has become. For if feminism were truly as powerful as it should be, why is tolerance for reproductive rights diminishing in state legislatures at the same time that tolerance for gay marriage is increasing?
The answer is that feminism has failed, and failed massively; yea, even unto Epic Fail-i-tude.
I see the failures of the movement as two-fold. Failure number one was when the movement went from a results-oriented movement (“Second Wave”) to an “empowerment”-based movement (“Third Wave”). In other words, the Second Wave was about making things happen, and the Third Wave was about feeling good about your sexuality. You wanna put on Blahniks instead of Birkenstocks, that’s fine with me, sister. But, sadly, footwear does not a feminist make. A feminist is someone who works towards the equality of women on a tangible and societal level. What ever happened to getting the ERA ratified, or achieving gender equity in Congress? Did we forget about that while Botoxing, butt-lifting, Jenny Craig-ing, or proudly proclaiming ourselves “Mom-In-Chief” (shame on you, Michelle!)?
Failure number two was a failure of marketing. When feminists failed to frame the issue of female reproductive rights as a civil rights issue, they lost the fight to the fundiegelicals. I am absolutely serious here, sistren and brethren; the fight is over, and the other side has won. Due to the moral cowardice of the leading lights of feminism past, self-proclaimed pro-choicers like Ted Rall are comfortable saying “abortion is murder.” No, it’s not. There is a legal definition of the word “murder,” which abortion simply does not meet.
The US Code, at Title 18, defines murder as:
“Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.”
So let’s see. Abortion is legal, so it doesn’t meet the first criteria. A clump of cells is not a human being, so there goes the second criteria, (although late-term abortions are a grey area), and certainly that “human being” criteria cannot be met by a fertilized egg, so there goes that whole “birth control is murder too” thing. And finally, “malice aforethought.” Does anyone, ANYONE believe that a woman who has an abortion does so with “malice aforethought?” And if so, how can fundiegelicals claim that it is better for such an evil woman, who already hates her baby before it is born, to have it anyway?
EPIC FAIL, feminist leaders, for allowing this ridiculous and incredibly harmful smear to take such firm hold in the American psyche.
Thanks to widespread support from NOW, NARAL, Planned Parenthood and many other womens’ organizations, we are now stuck with a “feminist” “Democratic” President who has abandoned the language “Safe, legal and rare,” which has served the Dems so well in the past; who has surrounded himself with fundiegelicals bent on banishing abortion altogether; who has nominated a woman to the Supreme Court whose stance on abortion is murky at best; who has put a woman at HHS who is both anti-choice AND anti-contraception; and who has refused to overturn the heinous Bush “conscience rule,” which is already preventing women from having access to contraception. Yet the mainstream feminists of America continue to swoon and drool over our BarackStar President, and American women sit idly by while their sisters in “red” states suffer through more and more restrictions on their bodies, as this Washington Post article so eloquently states. You know it’s tough, because if we take action, we’ll be called nasty names and accused of murder, or, like Dr. Tiller, even killed by right-wing Christian terrorists; and isn’t it so much easier to go on with our daily lives, consoling ourselves that Obama really DOES care about women’s rights, despite the rapidly mounting evidence to the contrary?
This is where the LGBT community comes in.
You see, the patriarchal brainwashing that women are subjected to every day of their lives has no effect on the LGBT community. They have always known they are outsiders, shunned and treated as less than human. Thus, their activism has always been results-oriented, and they have never lost their way in that regard. Like many left-leaning communities, many were bamboozled by Obama; but look how quickly they are waking up. And why?
Because he’s not keeping his promises.
That’s right, folks, it’s as simple as that. Obama promised the LGBT community that he would repeal DADT and be a “fierce advocate” for gay rights. He hasn’t done so, and they are holding him to account. What a novel approach, eh? On the feminist side, Obama promised Planned Parenthood repeatedly that he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act immediately – the FIRST THING – upon gaining office, and he now sneeringly claims it’s “not a legislative priority.” The rational response to this broken promise is to be angry, and to organize a protest. Yet all we hear are crickets, because the feminist movement is now about emotions. Ooooooh, how do I FEEL about Barack Obama? Are the orgasms less powerful? Has he stopped bringing me flowers? Has he lost that lovin’ feelin’? Ptui! I SPIT on your pathetic feelings, Planned Parenthood. Why don’t you f*cking DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?!
Or better yet…why don’t we ALL do something about it together?
A protégé of Harvey Milk, Cleve Jones, has called for a national march on DC on October 11, 2009, National Coming Out Day. The cause: Federal Equal Marriage Rights for the LGBT community. No more of this state-by-state nonsense, which, as Proposition 8 has tragically shown, can sometimes be overturned. However, what if the ERA were ratified? In that case, gender discrimination by the government would be unConstitutional. And then, on what basis will bans against gay marriage be upheld in courts?
With the explicit protection provided by the Equal Rights Amendment, not only would women be Constitutionally protected from sexism in the workplace, in government and in the justice system, but so would the LGBT Community. The same action that would protect women from state-by-state erosions and denials of their rights to control their own bodies, would also have the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage.
So I say, let the LGBT community show us the way. Let feminism rebuild itself by joining forces with our gay brothers and sisters for the furtherance of one common goal: Ratifying the ERA. Let us track this 10/11/09 protest, and join the discussion and organization if we can. Let us grow our numbers exponentially with a community that is both organized and goal-oriented, and with whom we share so much ACTUAL common ground.
What do you think?