Women’s March

A protest, in cross-stitch

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I marched with millions of women, men, and children all across the world on all 7 continents to stand in support of women’s rights. Independence Ave in Washington D.C. was so packed with people that the March really began as a shuffle. Everyone there had different, personal reasons for being there. Some were disabled or had children with special needs and wanted the Trump administration to view them and treat them as people of value, worth of respect. Others were marching as part of the LGBTQ community or an ally, demanding to be treated as equal under the law. I saw women proudly wearing colorful head scarves and hijabs, once again reminding our government that they and thousands of refugees are not to be feared, simply because terrorists falsely claim the same religion of Islam. So many women carried signs that declared their bodies to be their own. The decisions made for their bodies should be their own. Having healthcare they choose for their bodies should be a right. Their bodies are not for men to do with what they please. When men do decide to legislate and do what they will with these women’s bodies, they had better believe these women, with their powerful pussies, will fight back!  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
I saw black women and white women. Latina women and Asian women. Palestinian women and Indian women. Gay women. Straight women. Trans women. Married and single women. I saw old women in need of wheelchairs and canes and I saw tiny babies harnessed closely to their mother’s bosoms. I saw Christian women, Muslim women, and women for whom religion did not matter. I encountered some assholes, but for every 1 of them, there were 10 incredibly nice and considerate persons. I saw so many men there, supporting their wives, girlfriends, and friends.  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
So many different people with so many different reasons to march. But we were all unified by one thing: We are nasty women, and we will fight for our rights. We will fight for our rights, even though we shouldn’t have to fight for them- they’re rights most men certainly don’t have to fight for. We will fight for our rights, even as other women try to tear us down by telling us that they don’t feel like their rights are being assaulted, that women in other countries have it worse, that we’re just complaining, and that we’re all in charge of our own destinies. 

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 Record scratch– So I have to address the last bit of nonsense up there.
Why do you feel the need to tear down those of us who marched? How does it ruin your life or your day to know that millions of women either feel disenfranchised or are marching in support of disenfranchised women? Do you feel threatened? Do you feel like, perhaps these women are causing you to examine your life and the lives of others and it makes you uncomfortable, so you have to shut it down? Have you tried listening to women outside of your white, upper-middle class, suburban bubble, without pre-judgment or talking points already loaded, waiting to shoot down and invalidate their experiences?

Did you actually give a shit about female genital mutilation before Saturday? What about honor killings- I mean, beyond reading about them, being upset by them, and then pinning a good crock pot recipe on Pinterest? What have you done to address all the horrible injustices perpetrated upon women in other countries? Did you know that child brides and forced marriages in the US are also large problems? Why the need for a false dichotomy? How does the problem of women not being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia invalidate the problem that women in the US are paid less than men for equal work? Or that the very private and painful decision of a late-term abortion is not accurately characterized so it can be used as a political football?

Tell me, were Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth nothing more than whiners and complainers when they fought for a woman’s right to vote, (which was only afforded to us less than 100 years ago?) What about women who learned to drive during World War I, even though it wasn’t lady-like? Or the women who were so scandalous as to reveal ankles or wear slacks? And the women who demanded to work outside the home and be treated equally there? (Of course poor women have always worked.) Have you asked your husband for permission to have birth control, for whatever reason, lately? No? You can thank the women who fought for that, too. 

It’s pretty easy to forget about all the rights we have as women today because women who came before us were maligned, outcast, jailed, tortured, and killed because they fought, protested, and marched for them, isn’t it? But, in doing so they took their destinies into their own hands, and on Saturday, so did we! 

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
By the time I got home, I was hurting. Badly. The only time I sat down from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm was when I sat down for 30 seconds to pee. I hadn’t eaten a meal since breakfast, so as I scarfed down my bacon cheeseburger I was cranky, exhausted, and in a fuck ton of pain. The streets were so crowded, (and I must have been a crowd traffic magnet) that I experienced what popcorn in a popper must feel like and my butt got a lot of action. But, as I fell asleep to pictures of the crowds from all over the world, I felt so gratified that I had been a part of it. I felt privileged to have a husband who supports me and that I had the choice and ability to make my voice heard. This is the beginning of me fighting for myself, my girls, and other women. I marched in 2017 with the hope that my daughters won’t have to march for the same things in 2027.
Check out Megan Rei Photography

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Let’s Talk About My Uterus

The Wonder Years

I mean, everyone else is talking about my uterus.  Well, not mine specifically.  But what happens inside, outside, and around the uteruses of our nation’s women is deemed so important that they get their own special laws and Supreme Court rulings!  Hooray!  Don’t you just feel like there are so many legislators and jurists out there who are super concerned for women’s health and just want to protect us from ourselves?  I sure do!

For years, Republican state governments have been trying to weasel their way around Roe v. Wade, passing laws which make it increasingly difficult for women to have access to good healthcare and safe abortions.  The vitriolic pushback that met President Obama’s Obamacare rule for birth control coverage in insurance policies was astounding.  I wasn’t aware that we had time traveled back to the 60s and 70s, when only married women with permission from their husbands could gain access to birth control.  Eventually, after hard fought legal battles, the birth control provision went into effect, (with a few notable exceptions, (I’m looking at you, religious zealots!)  Now that President-elect Trump has a Republican House and Senate, who knows what sort of laws will be passed which strip women of their autonomy? And with Trump’s potential to fill more than one vacancy in the Supreme Court, will Roe v. Wade be relegated, a Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, “…to the ash heap of history.”

I used to believe that birth control was the gateway to parenthood.  What do you call people who use birth control?  Parents!  I used to believe that abortion was the easy way out and you were being selfish after being a slutty slut.  I even had a t-shirt from the Christian bookstore that said “Endangered Species” at the top and the Earth surrounded by animals, including elephants and panda bears.  But smack dab in the middle, with the Earth as its amniotic sac, was a white fetus.  Yeah.  I was that asshole.  I calmed down significantly during college, (you know, because those ungodly liberals exposed me to dangerous things like “ideas” and “critical thinking” and “other points of view”) but I remember when I had my lightbulb moment on abortion.  It was after my rape-adjacent experience.  In the morning light, he noticed that the condom had broken.  Shit!  So not only did I get to feel gross and guilty and ashamed of allowing someone to have sex with me, even though I didn’t want it, because it didn’t seem like my consent really mattered to him anyway, but I had to worry about whether or not I’d be knocked up with this shit-for-brains’ kid.  I don’t remember why I didn’t just go get Plan B* at the Health Center.  I remember thinking, There is no way I’m going to have the rest of my life ruined because of this.  If I end up pregnant, I’ll need an abortion.  

Oh.  It hit me.  What was apparent to plenty of other people had finally broken through the life-long pro-life programming- This was my body and my decision.  Whatever I thought was best for myself and my life wasn’t anyone else’s business.  And if something like this was happening in my life and I wanted this access to abortion and proper healthcare, without interference from outside forces who know nothing about me nor my body, then who the hell was I to limit other women in their choices?  I sure as hell wasn’t going to be one of those hypocritical people who justified their own abortion, but denied that choice for someone else.

Fortunately, I did not get pregnant.  Thanks to access to good healthcare, education, and a dose of good luck, I’ve only ever been pregnant on purpose.  (Tell a non-OB doctor some time that you might be pregnant because you’re trying to get pregnant.  It will confuse the hell out of them!)  I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to make that choice.  But I’ve thought about what Mike and I would do if I were to accidentally get pregnant now.  He and I have talked about it, and the reality for us right now is that another pregnancy and baby would be a catastrophe.  Both of my pregnancies with the girls were miserable; Rachael had me barfing until I delivered her and ZoĆ« caused me to have a horrible case of PUPPPS for 20 weeks.  After experiencing pregnancy, I don’t think anyone should be forced to go through it, especially if the pregnancy is the result of sexual violence. Add that to fibromyalgia, which includes chronic fatigue as a symptom.  Now add one child with ADD and an executive functioning disorder and another with ADHD and Oppsitional Defiant Disorder.  Yeah, no.  We’re barely coping now.  So we take precautions.  I have a hormonal IUD which, not only prevents pregnancy, but also regulates a very painful uterine condition called adenomyosis.  Of course, now that I think about it, there are scientists people who feel the IUD is an abortifacient.  It’s not true, but that’s how they feel, so laws and mandates need to be changed so women don’t have access to not just medical and surgical abortions, but different forms of birth control.  But let’s not pay attention to the nitty gritty details of women’s healthcare.  That ruins all the fun, fun, fun!

Last night, I watched the most recent episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  Spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up.  

Main character, Rebecca’s, paralegal and best friend, Paula, has been accepted into law school.  At the same time, she discovers that the rekindling the passion in her marriage has led to her accidental pregnancy.  Paula has a full-time career, two children who are the worst, and a husband who, (bless his heart) is trying to pick up the slack at home so she can have the baby and go to law school.  But their family just isn’t in the right place to add another child, even without law school.  So, after agonizing over the decision, Paula makes a choice.  She chooses to have an abortion, not because she’s selfish or a bad person, but because it’s the best choice for her, her family, and their future.  Given the taboo nature of the subject, I was heartened to see it talked about in this context.  

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend


We see her, after having been to the doctor, lying in bed.  She’s not a devastated mess, but you can see the sadness in her eyes.  It wasn’t a decision she wanted to make, but she made that decision with her husband and her doctor.  Thank goodness no one was standing in her way, presuming to know what was best for her.

*I did end up using Plan B twice during college.  Again, thank goodness for access to healthcare.  And, no, those don’t cause abortions either, because science.