Saturday, June 2, 2012

Did I Just Fall Off a Turnip Truck, Or Are Women The Root (Vegetable) of All Evil?

Come join me as I bump and jostle through the field of dreams and root vegetables.  Surely I have just fallen off a turnip truck.  I can’t imagine any other way to explain the reality that has befallen womanhood in this 2012th year in the United States of America.  Of course it might also be helpful to point out the fact that I am quite certain when I got onto the turnip truck, I already had a big old bushel full of jaded realism when considering some of the on-going, persistent inequities afforded to us women folk.  Perhaps the truck took a wrong turn and ended up driving through some third world nation and when I fell off, or maybe I was deliberately thrown, the resulting case of TBI that I must be suffering from would explain why I can’t exactly get a grip on the state of affairs related to women and women’s rights or the “War on Women” that is currently being fought or at least launched full force.  

When I look around it appears I am still living in the United States of America, I’m just not sure how it became acceptable to openly attack women in the political arena AND pretend that it is somehow going to help the nation.  Maybe when I show up in the turnip fields or attend my injury recovery therapy sessions someone will tell me how I came to be the victim of the turnip truck injury in a third world nation, the kind that treat women like second class citizens, chattel, or worse.

Not too long ago, before I somehow became involved in the turnip industry, legislation was passed to ensure women interested in getting abortions would need to undergo serious vaginal probing. Of course, it was also made clear that women needing birth control to avoid the need for an abortion would also be made to suffer humiliation or at least restrictive insurance policies and health coverage. It’s a little ironic that the other vaginal probing and poking-about got them into that mess to begin with, but hey, boys will be boys and girls just ought to be poked and prodded by boys.

Well, surely the abortion issue in the United States is enormous, right?  And it should be stopped because, well, because all of those unborn fetuses that might get to be born will help the economy and create jobs and NOT need health insurance.  They won’t need costly educations, they will gladly pay taxes and they will happily buy homes and turn around the economy.  Here’s the latest statistic by the Guttmacher Organization and the US Census bureau, sit down because it is shocking, 1.95% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have an abortion in the U.S. each year. That does seem daunting and out of control, doesn’t it?   That number certainly warrants the hype and rhetoric that is being granted at this time. How else can all those less than 2% wayward women be stopped from having abortions?  

Oh, wait there is another way to attempt to stop all those abortions.  Suddenly, the issue of sex-selection abortions has been exposed.  The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act was presented to Congress this week.  Naturally, putting together a bill that protects an unborn fetus from discrimination makes sense.  Well, it probably could make sense except for my turnip truck injury.  Let me see if I can get this figured out.   I, woman that I be, am not fully protected with equal rights.  I don’t have equal pay protections, and I don’t have access to the same health care benefits as men, as well as a slew of other, pesky, niggling little discrepancies.  Yet, an unborn fetus should have rights and protections against discrimination.  As a female-gendered fetus, I should have a great deal of rights, but as a full-grown female in all my glory, I don’t need to have the same rights as men.  Maybe because full-grown glorified, and all-in-their-glory females start having big ideas and expectations or at least thoughts and opinions that might just get in the way of all these plans for, about, and against women.  Yeah, as a turnip truck “accuser” this makes a great deal of sense.  I’m not a victim of the truck fall, because as a woman, I can’t really determine if I was victimized, I can only accuse and that way other non-women can decide that my accusations are unfounded and maybe just in my head, all dramatic and hysterical-like.   At least this is the premise of yet another great bit of legislation that is over-turning the definition of rape and sexual abuse, sexual harassment and violence against women.  We should NOT be allowed to consider ourselves “victims” in these cases, only accusers.  We can accuse, but men involved should not have to suffer any fall-out.  Maybe they were just stealing time, or biding time, or lured by women, or some such ludicrous notion.

Interestingly enough, the same political mavericks causing mayhem for women in some far-reaching attempt to preserve some distorted view of manliness are also promoting the need to make debilitating cuts to programs that provide support and care for women and children in poverty, such as WIC and HeadStart.  Again, the headaches and pain from that turnip truck injury have left me reeling and a bit unclear.  Women should NOT be permitted access to birth control, they should NOT have abortions, they should NOT be putting their children into daycare or preschool programs and they should be able to feed and care for their children without any federal funds.  The shared vision to support this thinking is the belief that women should be at home caring for their children. I'm just not clear which bills will be drafted and presented to ensure all the big, brawny men will support and care for the women and children and help strengthen marriage in this great big nation all chock full of manliness and familyness.

OK.  I sort of get it.  I am a woman.  I’m sure my viewpoints don’t really count though.  I am one of those all out wild and crazy non-conformist types.  I work.  I am single.  I have three children that I have supported without federal funding.   It has not been easy.  Perhaps if only I was able to stay home and be provided for and entirely reliant on my husband, that would have somehow made my marriage stronger and I would not currently be a single, working mother.   (But that’s just a tad funny on so many levels, in my experience it would have been easier to get blood from a turnip.)  Surely, the political mavericks that want marriage and family values to be stronger have some sort of program in place that calls for all the manly men to start providing for and being responsible to all of these children that are in danger of being aborted, in danger of living in poverty, in danger of being uneducable, in danger of being raised by demonic single women hell-bent on doing it all alone, and in danger of being a great big burden to a weakened economy.   I am excited and waiting with submissive-like anticipation to find out about these programs for men, from men, about men. 

The most staggering statistic of all that I have come across in my journey has to be 51%.  That is the percentage of women in this nation.  51% should have more of a say in the decision making process.  We should be represented in the political arena as leaders and policy makers.  We should be represented as equal members of society and we should be able to make decisions about our reproductive rights, our health and well-being and the care of our children, should we choose to have them.  We should not allow the current political climate to alienate all women based on a statistic that represents 1.95% of all women ages 15 - 44,  a statistic that is based upon the results of an act that involved one man and one woman- equally, or forcibly.  But that must be my TBI from the turnip truck fall-out getting all uppity and irritating.

In spite of my turnip truck injury, I have come across a few other statistics that don’t warrant much coverage or political bandying about.  While I head out to the turnip truck and fire up that engine, take a look-see, clearly, women are the root-vegetable of all things evil in this nation and around the world:
  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
  • Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
  • Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
  • Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
  • Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.
  • The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.l

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