Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Let's talk anger, America, and women



So I've been thrown right off-kilter today... by reading this. I was going to write about my plans to go to Arkansas and Cambodia this year (that'll have to wait until tomorrow), but apparently Paul Ryan just sponsored a bill in Wisconsin that would give rapists the ability to sue their victims and prevent them from getting abortions.

Now, I don't usually blog about the giant pile of confusion that can be American politics. I find it hard to explain to a multinational audience (because really, we have a very, um, unique system of governance), and also it's a hugely divisive topic amongst Americans - I know many families (mine included) who have fought over politics, and so folks generally tread lightly in conversation, because there can be such enormous ideological splits.

But not today.

If we agree rape is a crime, then why in name of all that is ethical would we give the people who commit that crime an extra right? If we're going around handing out extra rights, don't you think MAYBE that should go to the person who has just been grossly violated, both legally and personally? No matter how you feel about abortion, this basic logic fails.

I've said many times that I am never more patriotic than when I'm not in the US. I find myself being more patient when explaining peculiar Americanisms, and I get that glowy faded nostalgia for this friendly, outgoing, and truly beautiful country full of curious and creative people.

And then - I am violently reminded that my home country doesn't consider me a human being, for all the bloated talk of personhood these days. This morning, I found myself actually saying the words "I hate my country," and that's not something I take lightly, being someone who spends a lot of time actively contemplating my role in the world and what communities I want to belong to.

I thought I couldn't get more exhausted after the presidential election went on for a year, and so much of the talk was about whether women are actually human beings. From equal pay to the necessity of sexual education, to the fact that this web page even has to exist, I really hoped that we could now move forward, having gotten any confusion about what women actually do, and need, and vote for out of the way. But apparently not.

I'm so angry right now, and so exhausted, that I don't even know how to wrap this up. So instead, I'd like to invite you all to leave some comments below, and continue the conversation. Are you American, and if so, how does this bill make you feel? Are you non-American? How does America's treatment of women affect what you think of the US? I'm going to be honest - it makes me want to emigrate again. That's in my long-term plan anyway, but for a lot of folks, I know it's not - so what's next? How do we build a country that values everyone?

*UPDATE: A list, also from Feministing, of ways in which women have been criminalized when their pregnancies did not go as planned.

(image via, under Creative Commons)

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