It’s All Her Fault!

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I’m amazed! I thought we won these battles a long time ago, yet I see on the evening news that state after state is closing in on women’s freedom to choose. A woman should have a choice about what to do with her own body.  Is this a time warp and it is 1960?…Otherwise there is no excuse for this nonsense.  

For a while, I was a home teacher and one of my students was a shy, lovely young woman who had been told she couldn’t come to school because she was pregnant and might “contaminate” other girls.

She got caught in an unwanted pregnancy and chose to carry the child to full term. No matter what her choices were after the child was born, this was a setback for her and her life plans. It was a long time ago.

We all face setbacks in life and she had the intelligence to manage better than most unwed mothers. If it was her decision to keep her child, she was headed toward poverty, according to the statistics. If she chose to have her child adopted, that was fine although there could be psychological issues. She had some difficult choices to make.

I didn’t know her well and we didn’t talk personally. She was a good student and I tried to teach her well. I remember I thought it was very unfair to kick her out of school but life was very unfair for women. It’s a sure bet that the baby’s father didn’t have to leave.

Abortions were still not legal and I have no idea if she would have wanted one but the point is, she didn’t have a safe choice. Every woman deserves a choice!

That was a long time ago and times have changed. Teens now are usually allowed to finish school and some of the girls are allowed to choose a special school where they also get parenting classes.

I wrote a book called Young Parents once and I learned from the research. If the girls choose to keep their kids, they were statistically doomed to poverty for the remainder of their lives. Of course there are exceptions but most teen parents struggle for years. Almost none have a baby’s father who stays in the picture.

When I taught high school, back in the Sixties, I heard kids say you couldn’t get pregnant the first time. Some of those kids also believed that you had to “really enjoy it” before you could get pregnant.

Those kids  were sixteen years old and it was more than fifty years ago.  United States Congressmen and State Representatives are a long way from  high school. Some of them spouted ideas on the news that were more nonsensical ideas than any I have ever heard from a teenager.

Why are they really against Planned Parenthood? Why are they attempting to whittle away at abortion clinics? I can’t believe they are motivated by religion or they’d be more religious about helping the children who are already here.  I think they must believe that their views will bring them more votes from people who fear change.

These fearful voters are the same ones who are routinely trying to keep poor people from voting. They also want more guns and they are anti-immigration and the list goes on. If dinosaurs ran for office, the change-adverse voters would rush to vote for them. Oops! Dinosaurs do run.

Resistance to change concerns me but I really get hot about the shutting down of abortion centers and the persecution of Planned Parenthood organizations because I have a great long term memory.

In my day, girls were routinely blamed for getting pregnant. We were supposed to know better and understand that boys had “needs” that would drive them to distraction. It was up to us girls, when we went on a date, to keep our wits about us and our knees shut.

During this last election, I heard several political figures spouting the same nonsense. I even heard one candidate claiming that women cannot get pregnant if they are “legitimately” raped. That is probably based on my 1960’s students’ belief that you had to enjoy it before it worked to make babies.

If my news station is to be believed, that is a fairly common belief today. I had never heard that particular canard until recently, but apparently it has been around a long time in the right-to-life circles. Do they old guys still chuckle and say, “If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it?”

All of this is just another alarming sign of the age-old prejudice against women. Whether it is a judge who blames the rape victim because she wear the wrong clothes or the neighbor who blames the teenage girl for going out with that wild boy, it always centers on the idea that it is all her fault.

How about your family? If you have children and grandchildren, what are you teaching them? Do you tell the girls to be careful and the boys to have fun? I hope not.

As a retired Religious Science minister, I’m supposed to look on the positive side and I usually do. The positive side here is that it will all change despite some people’s attempts to block progress. And I’m positively glad to know that New Thought arose, to make progress and accepting women as equals was part of that forward movement.

Many feminists deny all the traditional teachings as being anti-female and patriarchal. Their interest is in ancient teachings featuring goddesses and that is an interesting development. I’m glad they are doing it but I’m happy to see there are other attempts to the nonsense in the dominant religions.

Some people see the Bible as an old fashioned book that promotes men into leadership positions of power. They say blaming the woman is a common theme in the Old Testament.

True – there are a lot of stories about women enticing men to sin, probably because men wrote the book. Whether it is Eve, Delilah or Jezabel, these Biblical characters are nasty ladies. Some of the traditional churches seem to hang on to those attitudes, stating that women cannot be priests or ministers and the man is head of the household.

But most of the traditional churches are moving away from those beliefs based on stories written thousands of years ago. Protestant seminaries are crammed with women studying to be ministers. We are living in more enlightened times.

I don’t worry so much about what the churches say anyway. If someone chooses to believe that sex without a desire to conceive is a sin and not use birth control, that is personal business. It becomes impersonal when freedom of choice for every woman is threatened.

I think this is a good time to take a good look at the issue of women’s rights in general and check out your own attitudes about sexual behavior. Is it all the woman’s fault in your world?

Ask Yourself

Do I want to change any of my personal attitudes?

Do I want to investigate this issue?

Do I want to tell my legislators how I feel?

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Asleep At The Wheel

 

Back in the early 1960’s when I was a respectable widow and school teacher pretending to be celibate, a Catholic colleague of mine called and whispered, “May I come talk to you?” Turned out, she wanted to borrow birth control pills because she didn’t want her husband to know…

I woke this morning thinking about what it was like before abortion was legal and contraception was easy to obtain. Unwanted pregnancies were a nightmare.

Women of my age have seen many changes and we tend to differ about which are good or bad – that’s fine because we are a diverse nation.  But I believe women are pretty clear on the issue of who’s in charge of our bodies.  I don’t hear women saying things were better back in the days when we had fewer choices.

I think the nation is in for a great awakening as women react to the current crop of conservative candidates for President and the many laws that are being proposed at the state and national level. I think that birth control should be covered by insurance just as Viagra is. I think that women should not be for forced to endure vaginal probing and humiliation when they seek an abortion. I think the Taliban has no place in the USA.

This is a major issue and we should wake up and speak out. Remember the testimony of Anita Hill? This country was rocked back on it’s heels when women came out of their silence and told about what they endured at work. Judge Thomas was confirmed but things definitely changed in the workplace.

Wait till women wake up and start talking about the “good old days” when they were told it all depended on them to say no. In my day, we were told to be good girls and keep our knees closed, at the same time we were trained to believe our total worth came from the men who loved us.

Girls were supposed to be great teasers, advertising the product but not delivering until paid up front with a marriage license. Once obtained, they were supposed to have a few kids, be good cooks, be happy, and be pretty when their husbands came home. If he didn’t come home, they were supposed to cry a little, put on some lipstick and smile as he arrived later and later.

If you lost in the marriage game, you were trash. If you had a brain – you learned to use it by helping your husband behind the scenes. Remember Nancy Reagan?

Women of my day didn’t hate men, they loved them. That’s what caused most of the trouble. Not the loving, but the tight space of the gender role.

In my day, spinsters were a joke. Being an old maid was the true “fate worse than death”. I had a brain but I dropped out of college at 18 and got married. After my husband died, I went back to college under great hardship and neatly avoided marriage for 10 years. But I did love men.

At 78, I don’t remember it all. But I obviously remember enough not to want to go back sixty years.

I realize there is a taboo about New Thought ministers speaking out about political issues but I’m retired from active service. Besides, I consider this a mental health issue for every one of us – male and female.

I am very proud to belong to a denomination that started with as many women leaders as men. We have always had great equality in our leadership because it is the basis of our teaching. If God lives everywhere, including in women, then I have a right to say what I think. And I think we should speak out about women’s rights.

We can help. We can recognize that it is difficult for people to change and that there is always a group of powerful old guys with billions who think they know what other people should do. We can speak up.Let’s not be asleep at the wheel.

Let’s tell the truth about the good old days. Let’s say that sexual activity between consenting adults, married or single, straight or gay, is normal and natural. Let’s say that times have changed and if a few people can’t keep up, we can love them but not let them slow us down. Let’s say that all human beings are Divine and each of us gets to make his or her own choices.

Ask Yourself

Do I resist change? How?

Is there anything I need to speak up about?