Standing Up for Our Bodies

Gay men have a reputation for worshipping fierce women, those who are bold enough to speak their minds and discard anyone who threatens to stand in their way. In this time of a renewed abortion debate, I think these gay men could teach the straight ones a thing or two.

That’s because straight men as a whole don’t value women. At the time I penned this article, three states had passed mind-numbing, backward-thinking abortion laws. Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri are the first in a long line of states that will attempt and/or succeed in passing similarly restrictive legislation. Mostly straight men were behind this, and I assume it is a methodical attempt to have at least one of these laws challenged all the way to the Supreme Court. There, abortion can be made illegal on a national scale once again.

Yes, plenty of straight women have been supportive of these measures, and one female governor passed it into law. What is rarely analyzed when any oppression takes place is the self-perception of those oppressed. In fact, it’s that negative self-perception that is the key to oppression. How can a body of people statistically considered a majority of the population end up without full authority of their own bodies, get paid an embarrassingly amount less than their male counterparts, and take on a majority of the household chores despite working the same amount of time at an office as men? Because we unfortunately as women don’t value ourselves either.

I attended a client dinner recently and was accompanied by a female colleague who is about 20 years younger than I. I point this out because I naturally consider younger generations better off when it comes to diversity and the idea that all human beings deserve a seat at the table. The dinner took place at an upscale restaurant, which was a new experience for my colleague. There were leftovers at the meal, and as a table, we collectively decided that this woman should take the food so she could further enjoy the fine dining. A few days later she mentioned how much her husband had enjoyed the surprise food and told her if he knew that would happen he’d allow her to go on these adventures more often.

A twenty-something husband telling a twenty-something wife what she can and cannot do. I was stunned and appalled at the idea that life is circular rather than linear, meaning we simply repeat cycles and never move forward past the issue. It certainly feels that way with the abortion issue.

With overcoming any offense by any community, one must learn to love yourself first. When you are self-reliant and self-assured no one can steer you otherwise. But if someone expects a knight in shining armor to rescue you from a situation, you’ll spend your life in a constant search. In the meantime, you begin to hate yourself for not being rescued.

Thank you to the gay community for putting strong women on a pedestal, because right now those who are standing up for themselves are being challenged in a way we haven’t seen in 40 years. And to us women, believe you are important to yourself first and then the nation will follow, eventually.