I’ve never been much of an internets troll, that is, until this morning. The new feminist blog on the Washington Post, She the People, reports how thousands of women (and some men) have been posting ironic remarks on Gov. Rick Perry’s Facebook page in protest to his cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, his infamous transvaginal ultrasound bill (Virginia is not the only one, remember!), among other creative tactics in this latest battle on the War on Women.
I thought it was a great idea. I know I should call Congresspeople and Senators when I’m pissed about legislative matters, but I don’t. Very few people do, although that is the most effective way of coming close to influencing anything. But this was different, more familiar, more of this “digital age,” I suppose. The format, too, is different from what a phone call would sound like.
Check out some of these posts, for example, from women asking for menstrual advice on Perry’s page:
“I’m at work and am experiencing the most uncomfortable itch you know where. I know I’m being punished for having a job and not being a wife and mother, but will you still take care of me? I’d like to stop by during my lunch hour.”
But there are other Republican pages that have been left unscathed, as Jezebel kindly reminds us, and we need to do something about it.
Take “Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett, who helpfully suggested that women who don’t want to look at their pre-abortion ultrasound should “just close their eyes,'” according to Jezebel. Here is what I posted on his Facebook page:
“I know this has nothing to do with this, but being a woman and all, I can’t stop thinking about my lady parts. You suggested women close their eyes when getting a transvaginal ultrasound, or Wand of Light, as we lovingly call it in some places. Do you also close your eyes when getting a mandatory anal probe for unrelated legal medical procedures? What else do you close your eyes for? I’m curious, your advice is so fascinating!”
Or Darrell Issa, the one responsible for the also infamous all-male contraception panel. His page is pretty lonely right now. I think it needs a feminine touch. Here’s my contribution:
“I have a question that is unrelated to this topic, but I can’t find the information anywhere, and I know you’re an expert on this. I do not want to have too many babies, being that I am not rich, and I am ambivalent about whether to use the rhythm method or douching, or if you know of a foolproof prayer for this, that should do it also. Could you put together one of those helpful all-male panels on this? Either wise I could not wrap my head around it.. as for anything complicated I depend on men to tell me what to do. I await a taste of your infinite male wisdom, thanks!”
You can be direct or sarcastic, make them squirm in their seats, or not, but the idea is simply for them to know that we care and we will not vote or stand for this nonsense.
Let’s do this!
- Women Take To Officials’ Facebook Pages To Protest Against Anti-Abortion Legislation (thinkprogress.org)
- TransVaginal UltraSound: Fake Rape, Government Rape, and ‘Rape Rape’ (femination.wordpress.com)
- Idaho To Vote On Bill Forcing Ultrasound Before Abortion (thefrisky.com)
Lots of different kinds of rape, we’ve got them all. Virginia Governor Bob McDonell promised to sign a bill that would require all women seeking an abortion to get a transvaginal ultrasound (although now not so unconditionally).
Since most abortions happen before the first trimester, the only way to do the ultrasound is introducing an 8- to 10-inch stick inside the woman’s vagina. The above segment of the Daily Show explains very well the irony that even women who are pregnant in case of rape would have to be pretty much raped again. They don’t have to look at the image of, what at that time would be, an amorphous zygote, which makes me think it’s kind of defeating the purpose.
Talk about invasion of privacy. In a hilarious skit, Jon Stewart shows the different conceptions of rape, used by all these Republican lawmakers and pundits who throw the word around, as in, “economic rape”, or talk about TSA pat downs like an invasion of privacy. It’s “rape” when it happens to them, even though the experiences are not even remotely similar. Way to add insult to injury. Way to delegitimize and mock a horribly traumatic experience.
What is also interesting, and what keeps baffling even the best of us, is that the delegate who introduced the bill was Kathy Byron, a woman, –an idiot woman, but a woman at that– who adamantly opposed HPV vaccines for 13-year-old girls. Not only is it true that “women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with its oppressors,” like Evelyn Cunningham said, but it’s equally appalling and disheartening and enraging to see the vast amount of women out there who are sexist and who use the rare power that they get to further limit the rights of women.
That brings us to Most Hated Woman of the Week, Fox News asshole commentator Liz Trotta, who complained that “the feminists” are making the government spend too much much in women in the military “who are being raped too much”, because “what did they expect?”. Wow, our hats off to you, madam, and even more so for doubling down when the hoards of “enraged radical feminists” criticized you from all over the Web. Even the likes of Ron Paul talk about “honest rape”, in contrast to “fake rape” or commonly known as “trying-to-get-everyone’s-attention rape”, which everyone knows is endemic in this society of attention-crazed contraception-hoarding sluts.
But who talks about, for example, the woman who dialed 911 and was raped by the cop who came to “help”? What about that kind of rape? Or rape as a weapon of war on innocent bystanders in Congo, Rwanda, Kosovo? Luckily, the fabulous feminist Gloria Steinem talks about that and how to stop it, for some much needed enlightenment in these dark times.
Men legislating women’s bodies, women legislating like chauvinistic men, it’s all here and it’s getting worse, fast.
I wasn’t planning on writing about Susan G. Komen‘s defunding of Planned Parenthood, nor about the ensuing public outcry and media criticism, nor about the embarrassing but awesome backtrack. But then I had to, more as a guide to what’s being said about it, which is a lot.
This International Herald Tribune article, from the Female Factor series, does a great job of summarizing and offering a global perspective, noting that,
Abortion, a polarizing topic that provokes little debate in Europe, stirs up bitter and sometimes violent debate that has been raging for decades in the United States.”
The motive behind the defunding was debunked in several media, like in this Slate article, and in this The Atlantic article covering the resignation of one of Komen’s top officials over the debacle, noting that Komen
… says it cut off Planned Parenthood because of a newly adopted foundation rule prohibiting it from funding any group that is under formal investigation by a government body (Planned Parenthood is being investigated by Rep. Cliff Stearns, an anti-abortion Florida Republican, who says he is trying to learn if the group spent public money to provide abortions).
Komen wanted to avoid controversy by defunding PP. But that was exactly what it got, controversy, and tons of attention, and not of the good kind. The public outcry was outstanding, and actually forced them to backtrack, although not in time to save face.
Gawker then got the story that Komen was offering discounted pink hand-guns as PR clean-up. Or maybe not, because right away, they deny it on the Huffington Post, saying
We do not have partnerships with any firearms manufacturer. Nor does our Seattle Affiliate receive donations from this manufacturer,” said Andrea Rader, who works in the public relations department at Komen. “As you noted, they even got the name of our organization wrong.”
OK, this is getting weird. We might not be seeing too many pink ribbons next Cancer Awareness month.
The funny thing is, after Komen announced its defunding decision, Planned Parenthood received $3 million in donations, and, according to NPR,
This timeless Stephen Colbert Planned Parenthood video from April last year channels the hilarity that is the “Planned Parenthood Abortion Myth.”
The best representative of this conservative paranoia is Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican from Arizona, who famously said that over 90% of what PP does are abortions, when it’s actually about 3%.
But nobody does it like The Onion does it, on this great sneak-peek into PP’s fictitious $8-billion “Abortionplex“. Now the more hilarious part of this, is that Republican Louisiana Rep. John Fleming thought the Abortionplex story was real. Though the story is old, from May 2011, and though he’s not the first to fall for an Onion article, we would expect more from a member of Congress. About 50 years ago. The Atlantic Wire story shows how he just casually posted it in his Facebook, not even particularly outraged, but just as a very fitting part of the abortion horror movie narrative. The Onion people must be proud.
If neither “factual statements”, nor over-the-top satire dissuade Congress Republicans from their Planned Parenthood abortion paranoia, who knows what will.
- Susan G. Komen, Women Across the Country Hurt By New Policy (mediabistro.com)
- Komen Exec Quits After Planned Parenthood Dispute (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Was It Right for Karen Handel to Resign from Susan G. Komen? (usnews.com)