While watching part of the GOP debate, I started to feel like that Angry character in the movie Inside Out. The one with fiery hair and a voice like Lewis Black. In the continual news coverage of Trump’s performance, I thought something is missing. Now we hear Hillary calling it out, the unbelievably, unimaginable gall of Rubio to tell us all that his Catholic faith informs his public policy – ie sorry no abortions ladies, life begins at conception, oh and btw, that he would make no exceptions for rape or incest.
And so we see again, ten men discussing womens’ private parts. But as Elizabeth (yes we’re on a first name basis) said, did they fall down and hit their heads and wake up in the 1950s? Because I lived through those years, when young women were butchered in backyard alleys, when they were sent away in shame to deliver a baby and hand it over for adoption, when they were rendered infertile and sometimes died. When women had no voice at all, none. Some women did the “good” thing and married the guy at 17, if he was amenable.
Today, young women are supposedly given condoms in school at a certain age and told how to use them. Of course this is all according to a state-sanctioned sex-ed/health curriculum, that varies from California to New York. Some states prefer to teach about waiting for marriage. But, girls can walk into a drug store and buy a Plan B pill if the condom failed…in fact, they still could walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic and get a shot a patch or a pill to prevent conception. But not if these ten men on stage have their way, clinics will cease to exist for reproductive health care – in other words, it’s the poor, the marginalized, the girls who could never in a million years talk to their parents about sex, these are the girls who will suffer.
Then this morning I read this: “Letter to Our Daughters: Do Not Be Good.” The author, Megan Bergman, is writing about becoming a teenager to her pre-school daughters: http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/letter-to-my-daughters-do-not-be-good/
You are entitled to the Dark Poetry Stage, and although it’s going to hurt like hell when you push me away, it’s necessary. (I hope I’m there to be pushed, and return doggedly.) I’m raising you to be independent beings, not fleshy basement-dwellers who play video games and pound energy drinks while the sunny world goes by. Or girls who try to appease my ego by being conventionally “good” and who then have to forge a secret rebellion. No! Rebel in the open.
I want you out in the world getting the good stuff. I want sun on your skin and banned books in your backpack, and when I’m old and diapered I want you to walk into my house, turn down the George Michael songs, and tell me about all the incredible discoveries you’ve made about the planet and yourself. I want you to tell me about your mistakes, heartbreaks, dreams, and plans. Those things are your engine. In my life, failure has been a much better engine than success. Artistic and personal.
George Michael doesn’t do it for me, maybe the Stones? My generation of women wrote the Book “Our Bodies Ourselves” because if we can’t control our body, how can we take control of our own lives? We don’t need to cover our hair, we can dye it blue. We can go to a movie like Trainwreck and celebrate our badasses.
Because being good isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: when it limits our choices; when it keeps us subservient; when it cancels our dreams.
We don’t have to take typing in school and end up in a Mad Men office anymore. We may even get equal pay for equal work soon! I went to Catholic school AND camp. I was taught to be good above all else. And believe me, throwing off those shackles felt amazing. Rubio and his ilk would like to put those chains back on, but he doesn’t know that young women today will never allow that to happen. After years of being dressed in a beanie and uniform, I allowed the Bride to wear whatever she wanted to school. It was the late 80s, think Dirty Dancing, and she was killing it!