Breaking News: Virginia Woman Doesn’t Care about Women’s Issues

I have (barely) held my silence about this issue for a few weeks now, but my rage has reached a boiling point and I can contain it no longer. Why in the name of Jesus H. Christ are we talking about birth control when Syria is in the middle of a civil war, Greece is on the verge of financial collapse, our own economy is still in the toilet, we’re in the middle of one of the biggest and most important elections in our history, and Iran is THIS CLOSE to getting nuclear weapons? I think we have bigger issues in this country than who is paying for our birth control.

I’ve been following this obnoxious line of public discourse for a couple of weeks now (vaguely at first, and more intensely after the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident), and each week I’ve become a little more outraged. First of all, if you KNOW that a school or company does not share your values, then why would you chose to go there? If the fact that their insurance doesn’t cover birth control is a big deal for you, then go somewhere else. If you need birth control for a medical condition, you can supplement your employer’s insurance with insurance that DOES cover it, or you can get it on the cheap at Planned Parenthood (since that’s what they claim their main business is – supplying health care to under-served women). And why is everyone acting like this is “limiting” access to birth control? No one is saying “You can’t have that.” They’re just saying “You can have it, but we’re not going to pay for it because it goes against something that we strongly believe in.” The government has no right to FORCE someone to pay for something that they believe is wrong. If we just stopped tying employment to insurance, we could solve a lot of these problems.

Second, everyone keeps talking about “women’s rights,” or, to speak more plainly, “abortion.” First, I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a “right” to abortion, because it infringes on the right of another human being to live, but putting aside my moral objections to the practice, let’s look at this fairly. If women have a “right” to abortion, or birth control for that matter, then we also have a responsibility to pay for it. I don’t know why we suddenly assume that just because we’ve decided we have a “right” to a good or service means that we don’t have a responsibility to pay for it. We keep saying “keep your laws off my uterus” but the unspoken end of that phrase is “but keep the money, pills, and abortions flowing.” We have a responsibility for everything that we put into our bodies and everything that we DO with our bodies. So how can we expect others to pay for the consequences of our actions? We have a right to free speech, but no one demands that the government pay for us to publish books. Isn’t the government subsidizing our rights with tax dollars in contrast to everything the founders intended? Those rights were enumerated specifically to PROTECT US from the government. If the government is paying for something that is deemed a “right,” isn’t that a precarious situation? Like Jefferson said, “A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take it all away.”

Smart guy, that Jefferson

Third, there is an enormous amount of hypocrisy in the media over this Limbaugh-Fluke incident, and I find that to be extremely offensive, as both a conservative and a woman. Was Rush Limbaugh wrong to call Sandra Fluke a prostitute? Absolutely. But what really irks me is that Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and even Hilary Clinton were called all sorts of vile names by a number of people in the media, and I heard little to no outcry over that. They definitely didn’t receive an apology phone call from Barack Obama. Believe me, I’m not a big fan of any of those 3 women, but I do believe they have been treated very unfairly by the press. Can we at least PRETEND to be SOMEWHAT outraged when conservative women are mistreated by the media? Where were the feminists when Bill Maher repeatedly called Sarah Palin a cunt? Why are they only outraged when women of their own political leanings are insulted? Are conservative women not worthy of the same respect given to liberal women?

Unless you're conservative, of course. Then eff you.

Fourth, American women seem to be under the delusion that this so-called “right” to abortion is THE most important right that we have and that there is a “war on women” in this country. I’m sorry, but there are women around the world who are never taught to read and who aren’t even allowed to leave their house without a male relative with them. Please don’t act like you are SO OPPRESSED when there are places where it is ILLEGAL for girls to go to school – where you could be killed for trying to get an education. And we’re complaining because we might have to pay for our own birth control? No wonder the rest of the world seems to hate us.

And you think YOU'RE oppressed because you have to pay for birth control?

Finally, there has been a great deal of anger directed at “white men” during this whole debacle. More than usual, I mean. I’m so sick of this cliched political cop-out that I could just vomit. The point of feminism is not to demean men, to speak ill of them, or to put women above men. The goal was to make us equals in the eyes of the government & society. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. Not everything bad in the world stems from this vague, evil group of “white men.” I know a lot of white men. I married one. My dad is a white guy. If I ever have a son, he’ll be a white man. I had a lot of good teachers who were white men, and both of the pastors of my church are white men. I’m quite fond of all these “evil white men,” and I wish the media would get off their nuts. Literally. And can we stop with all the dumb comments about “Where are the laws for just MEN’S health? HUH?? Why aren’t THEY targeted?” I’ll tell you why. Because like it or not, men cannot carry babies. It’s a fact of biology. I know that upsets a lot of women, but you can’t change nature. Getting a prostate exam just isn’t as controversial as vacuuming a dismembered baby from the womb.

So, can we move on now? Can we stop talking about birth control and worry about stuff that really matters? Because the world is kind of falling apart around us, and I think that’s slightly more important that who pays for birth control.

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Seven Assumptions of Highly Successful Magazines

As I’ve mentioned before, I have acquired a number of magazine subscriptions through a few different programs. I currently subscribe to 3 women’s magazines: Marie-Claire, Glamour, & Cosmo. Before I moved to Tennessee, I ended up with a subscription to Allure, but I no longer get that one. After perusing these magazines for several months, I have come up with a list of assumptions these magazines make about their readers, many of which are probably largely inaccurate.

1. All or most readers live in major cities. Most of these magazines assume that you (the reader) live in a large city – namely NYC, Chicago, or LA. But mostly NYC, since that’s where most of these magazines are based, and where most of the writers, editors, and other staff live. It is a reflection of their bias, but not necessarily a reflection of their readership. Where is middle America? Do they think that no one in Nebraska reads their magazines?

2. All or most readers hold an “office job.” Do you work at an office? I don’t mean a doctor’s office or a law firm. I’m talking a Dunder Mifflin-style office. A “business office,” if you will. For some reason, these magazines seem to think that there are no doctors, teachers, lawyers, stay-at-home moms, soldiers, retail-workers, or any other professions among their readership. It is assumed that the vast majority of their readers are cube-dwellers, hellbent on climbing the corporate ladder to become CEOs of major fashion labels, publishing houses, or paper companies.

3. All or most readers are LOADED (or live like they are). Do you, as an average woman, own a pair of Christian Louboutin heels? No? How about a Louis Vuitton purse? A dress by Balenciaga? Makeup by Dior or sunglasses by Chanel? I didn’t think so. Most of my clothes came from Walmart, Target, or a department store in the mall. My shoes come from Payless, my purses come from Walmart and my makeup comes from the drugstore. I refuse to buy a pair of sunglasses that costs more than $10, because it’s a guarantee you’ll lose them if you do. These magazines seem to think that all their readers have huge amounts of disposable income to blow on name-brand clothes, accessories, and makeup. That, or they assume we are all up to our ears in credit card debt from purchasing such extravagant clothing. With the impact of the recession on nearly every sector of the economy, one would think they would advertise less expensive items. Granted, some of these magazines have “steal” options to counter the “splurge” items, but even these are sometimes woefully out of the price range of many, especially young twenty-something’s like myself who are just getting started.

4. All or most readers are single (or have a boyfriend). I suppose the mentality on this one is that once you get married, you will no longer subscribe because you’ve already permanently hooked a man and you no longer need the tips on how to dress sexy, act sexy, have sexy hair and make up, or be amazing in bed. Don’t let them know I’m on to them, as they will find this revelation to be highly embarrassing as it is very un-feminist of them to essentially be all about how to get a man. But, aside from the embarassingly un-feminist subtext of the magazines, there are hardly ever mentions of “marrieds” in them. Co-habitors? Sure. Engaged? Occasionally. But married? Rarely, if ever. I once heard a song that had the line “You don’t find Cosmo in a happy home.” Perhaps the magazines know it’s true, and so they ignore us marrieds who just read them for the LOLs.

5. All or most readers are “pro-choice.” During election season, these magazines are full of informative articles encouraging readers to exercise their right to vote. However, the information presented almost always shows any pro-life candidate in an unfavorable light. They are talked about in terms of their voting record on “women’s issues” (code name for abortion, because let’s face it, breast cancer & heart disease really aren’t contentious issues), and inevitably those who do not favor stabbing unborn babies in the head come out behind those who DO favor abortion. Some of us females have made peace with biology and realize that as women, we carry the babies. Sometimes this might suck, but such is the way things are. It isn’t the baby’s fault that I got pregnant, so I don’t think I’ll kill it. I’m sure many other readers feel the same way.

6. All or most readers are sexually incompetent. This is evidenced by the fact that in every issue of all of these magazines, there is an article on the undiscovered wonders of girl-on-top sex. Really? How many non-virgin women in the civilized world have not tried it by now? Aside from the reverse cowgirl redundancy, just the sheer number of articles on how to have better sex are mind-boggling. Most of these tips are common sense. They come naturally during the act.

7. All or most readers worship at the alter of the Shoe Cult. Call it The Cinderella Syndrome, Part Deux: The belief that the right shoe can change your life. There is always heavy emphasis on shoes in these articles, particularly very expensive designer shoes. I, for one, hate shoes. I would rather be barefoot or in flip flops, perhaps because I have wide feet and can never find any shoes that fit my foot properly (another post to come on that later). I know many women LIKE shoes, but the devotion to footwear in these magazines is almost slavish – like, regardless of how uncomfortable or impractical, all women have to wear fancy stilettos and high-heeled strappy sandals, and they must cost upwards of $500 a pair. Redonkulous, if you ask me.

Perhaps I judge too harshly. Perhaps the point of these magazines is to celebrate the fun frivolity that comes with being female, especially a twenty-first century, liberated, independent, Pill-popping female. Perhaps their purpose is to help us escape the drag of everyday life by allowing us to look at pretty people in pretty clothing, doing fun and exciting things, and having delightfully unmarried, girl-on-top sex in outrageously expensive footwear, without worrying about the responsibilities of giving birth and raising unwanted babies. Clearly they appeal to a wide audience, even if they do have some bias and set unattainable fashion and body image standards for their average reader. After all, I’m getting 3 of them a month, so can I really judge?