Tuesday, March 23, 2010

breaking news: susie gets political

Disclaimer: this post might shock/offend you, so read at your own risk. But if you do read, keep an open mind.

I don't do politics. I vote, and I try to educate myself on current events, but I hate politics. I consider myself to be a positive person most of the time, but I am absolutely cynical when it comes to politicians. I just believe that nothing short of a miracle will straighten out this country's epic fail of a mess, so I'd really rather not think about it most of the time.

However, I do actually have political opinions, though I don't usually advertise them. I decided to blog about them today, in honor of the fact that March is Women's History Month.

In my very first semester at LSU, I took a women and gender studies (WGS) class. It was an elective for English majors, and I went in curious but unsure of what to expect. I kept an open mind and I was blown away by a lot of the stuff we learned. It also stuck out in my mind because of how open and friendly my classmates were. In fact, I'm still friends with one of the girls in that class. The class really broadened my horizons and made me realize how I was ignorant in many ways.

I learned about feminism. Feminism is a word that has many negative connotations. Some people think it was a movement that's over. Some associate feminism with butch, bitchy women who hate men. This is a gross generalization. Sure, there are some feminists out there like that. A lot of feminists are angry because the world has been such an unfair place for women for a very long time. I'm angry too, sometimes. But most feminists don't hate men. Actually, in the very simplest of terms, feminism means equality for both women and men. It doesn't mean that women are better than men. It's about equality.

Or at least, it used to it. It still is, in some ways. Women still make less money than men in the working world. Companies still don't always support very much maternity leave, and they support paternity leave even less. Women are still sexually harassed/assaulted/abused every day. But there have actually been three waves of feminism. The second wave died in around the late '80s, and the third wave continues today. But we have this problem, where so many women don't want to be identified with feminism. They believe that they cannot be feminists and still maintain their femininity.

I've always believed that I can be a strong, independent woman - a feminist - without it getting in the way of being feminine. I love wearing vintage dresses and makeup. I'm not saying that we should all burn our bras and stop shaving (that's entirely up to you). I do reject conventions of negative body images that are so rampant in the media. I do resent that almost forty years after the Equal Rights Amendment was passed, we STILL don't have equality in this country. It's outrageous. I am angry every time I hear of a rape case that wasn't reported because there would be no point to report it - because it's so hard to press charges in almost every rape situation.

Wake up - this is a problem, and we are only fueling this problem if we shy away from the word "feminism." We are slapping our foremothers, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and so many others, in the faces when we do this.

Men also have issues with the word. Why can't men be feminists? Any man who loves his mama, maw maw, sister, wife, and/or daughter should want equal rights for them, and should not be afraid to say so. This isn't a battle we will win alone.

I learned even more in that WGS class. As a Catholic, I'm supposed to be vehemently against abortion and contraceptives. We had a discussion about this in class one day. One girl stood up and calmly said, "I don't like the term 'pro-life.' That indicates that I'm pro-death. And I'm not. I don't want innocent babies to die. The issue is about power. It's about the government telling me what I can and cannot do with my own body. If abortion is outlawed, it will go back to the way it was in the '60s - coathangers in back alleys. It will lead to the government restraining my body in other ways." I sat there in shock. She was right.

I struggle with this issue all the time. Of course, there are options such as adoption, or heck, not having sex if you don't want a baby in the first place. But is that realistic? Same with the idea of contraceptives. The statistics have shown that abstinence-only methods in high schools don't work. Know why? Because some kids are gonna have sex. Many won't, like those who grow up in religious households and either truly believe that they should wait or at least feel guilty about it. But some always will. Wouldn't it be better for a girl to know how to protect herself from STDs and unwanted pregnancy if she's going to become sexually active? If I were a mother, I would pray that my daughter would practice abstinence, but in the event that she didn't, I certainly wouldn't want her to be unprotected.

I wear a ring on my left hand that bears the inscription of 1 Corinthians 6:19, which goes something like this, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? You are not your own." It's partially a purity ring and partially a reminder to not disrespect my body at all, because I'm just borrowing it. But unfortunately, not everyone believes this way. This is exactly why the separation of church and state exists. Who am I to impose my beliefs on another woman? I'm not God, and I can't judge anyone. So maybe it's best that we encourage abstinence, but still teach kids how to use birth control and condoms so they don't get themselves into terrible situations.

I won't go so far as to say maybe abortion should be legal, because at the end of the day, I can't bear the thought of the government allowing fetuses to be terminated. But I will say this - I don't much relish the idea of the government telling me what to do with my body, either.

If you've gotten this far, kudos. I hope I didn't offend you, but I also hope that I made you think a bit more about these issues. Please leave a comment or send me an email with your thoughts - if you agree or disagree, if you are exhilarated or outraged. I'd like to know.

Have a blessed, magical day.


  1. I agree with almost everything you have expressed, and the rest is just stuff that I'm not sure of. Yep even old people can be unsure. :-)

  2. Wow! I recently subscribed to your blog (through HayleyGHoover's blog) and was expecting fluff and Disney amazingness. This post was anything but! Although I have some opinions that differ, I think this blog solidifies my belief that with education and knowledge people can open their minds. EVERYONE SHOULD TAKE A GENDER STUDIES CLASS! Thanks for sharing your beliefs and experiences. I avidly look forward to your next post :)

  3. It's great that you are so passionate about woman's rights because, Lord knows, we need to represent. However, if you haven't already, I highly recommend reading Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae. These are papal encyclicals that deal with why the Church teaches what they do about contraception. JPII's Theology of the Body also touches on contraception.

    Also, according to medical research, condoms do not actually protect against STDs. On a microscopic level, then holes in the latex are much bigger than the diseases they are meant to keep out.

  4. Thanks, Mrs. Stephanie :) that's reassuring.

    VTBurninator - wow, thanks so much! I usually do blog about fluff, but I just felt the need to speak out on this issue. I appreciate the subscription and the kind words.

    Theresa - thanks dear :) and I'll look into it.

  5. Susie...

    Wow. That was beautifully said and I couldn't be more proud if you were my own daughter. I think you may be wise beyond your years!

    I hate politics with an absolute passion but if we're going to exercise our right to vote we need to 1) stay informed 2) give due consideration to the different views and 3) never be afraid to voice our opinions and stand on our principles. You get that and it warms my heart! (BTW, nothing galls me like ignorant people at a voting booth! They shouldn't be voting if they don't make a point to understand the issues.)

    Bravo, Girl! You rock, totes. (That was my attempt at cool but um... Not feeling it.)


  6. I agree with you :)
    I honestly would never get an abortion. However, who am I to say that someone else should not have that opportunity. I know that the choice is ultimately up to the woman involved.

  7. Mama Margaret, thanks so much! You are totes awesome, and cool!

    IHeartQuirkyness, thank you for the comment and for taking the time to read :)

  8. Cool blog. I got it through a mutual friend (S. Broussard). I'm a catholic too and I always get caught inbetween arguments with people about abortion or gay rights. I think slowly but surely people are learning to open up and realise that separation of church and state is important is governing a diverse population.
    I'll stop there because I'm a math major and I wouldnt probably know better. I'm looking forward to some more blogs from you.

    Peter A.


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