Dec 23, 2010

Yeah, pretty much out of nowehre, with extra asking for money on the side

God, how I hate the meme about "having an abortion is a difficult decision that no woman takes lightly". I know it's supposed to be a defense against the vile misogynist assumption that women are thoughtless, irresponsible children who callously have unprotected sex and then resort to abortion as a means of rectifying their own cock-ups (pun totally fricking intended, so suck it up). But still. Seriously? An outpatient procedure that expunges a tiny clump of cells from your body - something that is less invasive and painful than having a mole removed - is a difficult decision?

And don't nobody come along wringing their hands in mock concern about late term abortions and the little handses and the little feetses. Bullshit. The overwhelming majority of abortions are sought within the first 8 weeks. Mine was on literally the first day that abortion was medically allowable (6 weeks). You know why? Because women - have a look above - are not thoughtless, irresponsible sub-beings, and they want to deal with unwanted pregnancy as quickly as possible once they realise something unplanned has happened.

Anyway, abortion schmabortion. That's a difficult decision? What about becoming a fucking parent? How's that for a difficult fucking decision for ya? Cause hey, two hours in a clinic with your legs up in stirrups is so much bigger a deal than a lifetime of care, responsibility, heartache, expense, love, illness and conflict, right?

Or even forget about that. Forget that the hateful slutty "women" who have abortions and the saintly pure "mothers" who raise children are the same fucking people (literally - most women who have abortions already have at least one child). What about pregnancy? Is the decision to have someone scrape or vacuum your insides for a few minutes really that much "bigger" than the decision to carry something in your abdomen for nine months and then push it out through your pelvis at great risk to yourself, or maybe undergo major abdominal surgery if things go wrong? Seriously, who should we be encouraging to "really think about it" - the person who's popping in to their GP for a quick referral, or the person who has some kind of abdominal mass and just leaves "nature" to take it course?

But what about post-abortion syndrome, Marina? What about all those poor, poor women who were bamboozled, bamboozled I tell you, by evil child murdering feminists into having an abortion, and are now suffering from mental illness because of it? Well, to start with, it's a fucking invention. A mean, cruel, sadistic make believe condition, the only purpose of which is to make women feel like shit about themselves. Because guess what? If you keep telling people that they should be ashamed and traumatised, they're just that much more likely to be - you got it - ashamed and traumatised! Isn't it great the way social conditioning works?

Mountains of propaganda - up to and including terrorist attacks against abortion providers - will not prevent women from seeking terminations to unwanted pregnancies. And anti-woman activists like Nadine fucking Dorries know this perfectly, perfectly well. Their mission in life is not to save teh cute little babbies. It is to make the lives of women as miserable as possible, whether through forced pregnancy or through imposing a myth of guilt and shame on them for the self-care they show through taking control of their fertility. It is to make the lives of women so miserable that they forget about their own dreams, their own aspirations, their own desires, and spend their lives entirely in submitting and conforming to the gleefully torturous demands of those who have nothing better to motivate them in life than hatred for the idea that women are human.

So don't give me all that about abortion being a difficult decision. It's an easy fucking decision, as easy as any other decision about our health and self care. But oh wait, we're not supposed to have the right to health and self care! That's why the Tories are slashing Well Woman clinic budgets[1]. That's why Nadine Dorries is wasting Parliamentary time trying to lower the abortion limit from 24 weeks. That's why her crazy-ass co thinkers are importing US-style tactics into the UK, trying to shame and intimidate women who choose to have an abortion.

And that is why, I guarantee you, there will be more challenges to women's rights to control this body within the life of this parliament. Just you wait and see. And when you do see, remember that this rhetoric about abortion being "a serious and difficult choice" is sand in your eyes, thrown to disguise a mountain of hatred of women and disgust of their bodies.

Anyhoodle. Go give your money to this awesome charity that is trying to make up their funding shortfall (this one the Tories really are cutting) in order to educate people in the UK about abortion, and to help British women to be safe, healthy, and happy. Go on, shoo. I know you've just spent a fortune on X-Box games for your squeeze or kids, so you can afford a fucking tenner here, people.


[1] OK I totally made that one up - but they would, wouldn't they? If you fell for that, that's proof that you, too, subconsciously believe that the Tories hate women.

Dec 8, 2010

Ceci n'est pas une post about Wikileaks

I just want to make something super clear from the start - this is not a blog post about whether or not Julian Assange is guilty of rape, or about whether or not wikileaks is a good thing. In fact if this post is about anything to do with Wikileaks at all, then it's about how those two hypotheses do not exist in opposition to each other. Look at the name of this blog. Now look at me. Now back to the name. Now back to me. Assange's personal behaviour doesn't change anything about the inherent value of Wikileaks, and Wikileaks itself does not imbue Assange with any saintly or devilish characteristics. In a non-zero sum universe, both, either or neither can be good, bad or indifferent. I am ambivalent about wikileaks in exactly the same way as Clay Shirky is, but since he expressed it much better than I could, why don't you read his blog and leave me alone on the subject.
No, what this is about, as Cath Elliott wrote on Lib Con a few days back, is how quickly all pretensions to feminist sympathies give way to a "bros before hos" attitude among men on the left once one of their own is in the dock (though in fairness she expressed it with more class). It's easy enough to march at the back, mumbling feminist slogans out of time because you don't quite know the words, when it's some sleazy capitalist or smarmy Republican in the firing line; statistically, it's more likely to be one of those guys in some jacuzzi showgirl snorting scenario, anyway.

But one of ours? Julian Assange, fearless defier of the Keystone Cops wannabes that are US officials trying to wipe the egg of their faces? Courageous snook cocker at misspeaking power-drunk bank functionaries? Heroic exposer of all that is ignoble and slightly ridiculous about contemporary diplomatic statecraft? Impossible! It's a conspiracy! A politically motivated witch hunt! A miscarriage of justice! A honey trap! Fame seeking! Misuse of Interpol resources!

I think I've read, heard or extrapolated almost every one of the above theories about this whole sorry business but one: that the two complainants are telling the truth and that there is a case to be answered.

And you know why that pisses me off? No, not because people trivialise rape and assume that, when it comes to sex, women are all lying bitches out to bring a good man down. People assume that every day, so yawn, basically. Actually I'm delighted that the Swedish authorities are taking sexual assault charges seriously enough to put the wind up a bunch of windbags who are bricking it at the realisation that sexually criminal behaviour is not something that is easily shrugged of, in some places.

No, what's pissing me off about this is that once again, the feminist section of the liberal blogosphere is stuck explaining rape theory 101 (it's not nice, mmkay?) to a bunch of privilege denying dude wannabes, instead of getting our heads down to do some analysis and maybe add, you know, our own thoughts and ideas to the whole Wikileaks conversation. While everybody else is off cheerfully bloviating about the ins and outs of information libertarianism, we're stuck firmly back in the ghetto of "all that feminist stuff", as someone recently said to me, cleaning up the collateral damage left behind by people who just have to make villains, liars, and sluts out of two women who, at best, have had a very bad experience and are still having a really tought time.

I've always been a bit Twisty Faster about the whole "feminist allies" business: basically, men mostly hate you and will throw you under the bus as soon as it fits their psychological or political needs, whatever lip service they pay to liberal values as they relate to women. But sometimes, being an actual thinking person who is open to information about the world, I've doubted my own cynicism, you know? People say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and all that, and it's true that in everyday life it pays to be polite and reasonable with people.

Stuff like this, though, makes me wonder if maybe I'm not cynical enough.