You hear the debate pretty often about whether women can have it all. Countless women's magazines and blogs have argued the case for or against, and whether or not they have an actual shot at attaining this fantastic mythical goal that is "all."
So what's this "all" they speak of? It can vary from woman to woman but the general consensus is that having it all means being an attractive, flat-bellied woman with a successful career, an equally successful partner, adorable, non-terrible children, an impeccably decorated home and perfect I-woke-up-like-this hair all the time. Basically, having it all means being Beyoncé and we mortal women know that's impossible.
Still, we strive because that "all" sounds pretty great. I would love nothing more than to confidently check "D) all of the above" on a survey asking me which of those things I have going for me, but sexism, racism, white privilege and difficult hair have put some barriers in my path. Even so, I try, and in the process have made some tough decisions, like working what feels like 700 jobs, ending a great relationship and actually exercising on a regular basis, to get there.
Still, for me, having it all requires at least one more key factor this list doesn't cover. For women, choice and control over our lives and bodies is essential. Yet we don't always have a choice, do we? A man decides he wants to have sex with us, sometimes we don't get the chance to decide whether we do, too. Yeah, I took it there.
And then we have pale-faced conservative goblins who feel entitled to tell us what we do with our bodies. To quote an out-of-control teen, "You don't know me! You don't know my life! I do what I want!"
The war to defund Planned Parenthood, and essentially the war on women, is as rampant as ever, but the accusations made by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, saying Planned Parenthood clinics are selling fetal tissue of aborted babies for scientific research, is fucking insane and a new low. Investigations into these allegations turned up empty. Side note: Doesn't "Center for Medical Progress" sound like a group trying desperately to sound smart and official but probably still extols the healing powers of leeches?
Along with these ridiculous allegations, the continued efforts by conservative politicians and groups to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding, which provides reproductive health services to men and women, is disgusting and shameful. The fact that itís largely men (and some equally terrible women) fighting this sickening fight against women, citing moral values, the word of God or advising us to just keep our legs closed, is repulsive and offensive.
Women are constantly attacked for having sex while these men sit on their high horse, likely about to gallop to the secret apartment they've rented for their mistress, high on the boner pills the FDA didn't think twice about giving them. It's cool, ladies. We finally have our own pill to enhance our trips to Bone City. It was previously rejected twice, likely because women shouldn't be encouraged to have sex, much less enjoy it. God forbid! We sluts don't need any more reason to devour all the dick.
When we make the human choice to control our lives and our reproductive health, we are called whores. When we make the decision to end a pregnancy, we get "murder" added to our rap sheet.
Recently, a few girlfriends and I were chain smoking topless on midcentury lawn chairs in Palm Springs and talking about abortions, as one does. While I've never had an abortion, there were scares in my past where I knew for certain that, should I be pregnant, I would have one. Without question. I knew I wasn't ready, but would be someday. But my experience is mine. Anyone who has been in that situation has made their own decision for their own reasons and felt however they felt about it. And they don't need to discuss how it happened or why they made their choice if they don't want to. Women feel the need to provide a valid explanation to avoid being shamed, because inevitably we will be.
What's worse is that if you do make the choice to have an abortion, you can't be certain of not being debased by an asshole doctor.
A very close friend of mine, who is already a struggling single mom, made what was for her an incredibly difficult decision to end an unplanned pregnancy. For her, it wasn't an immediate decision. She weighed everything in her life out like a fully capable adult woman. Crazy, right? At a clinic in Mira Mesa, the doctor performing her abortion yelled at her multiple times, was physically forceful on her even when she told him he was hurting her or making her uncomfortable, spoke down to her and then instructed the anesthesiologist to not speak to her because "she doesn't understand and doesn't even care." She's been struggling in many ways since her decision, and that experience only made it worse. This behavior from a doctor, who made the choice to perform abortions, is appalling and inhumane.
Women, we're at war to protect our own bodies and lives. If having a choice is having it all, then we deserve it all.