A friend of mine told me a story about how her long-term boyfriend made a comment that if they were to have son that was gay, that would be okay because he could take care of himself, but that if they were to have a daughter that was lesbian, he would be worried, because “who would take care of her”? My friend proceeded to ask what “take care” of meant. Did he think she needed “taking care” of? Or that his mother needed to be “taken care” of? He admitted no. So this leads into the question of why society thinks women need to be “taken care” of by, presumably, men. Her boyfriend was not being sexist or malicious, he just perpetuated society’s stereotype that women need a man to take care of them.
This lead me to think to of a 90s song by some boy band where the boy is breaking up with the girl because he loves her so much but he knows he isn’t good enough for her. I remember thinking when I was a kid in the 90s, “what the hell?” Why does he think that HE needs to make this decision for her [assuming that he is telling the truth and not using it as an excuse]? I remember being really bothered by this notion that his girlfriend was presumably too stupid to know whether or not he was good enough for her, and as a result, he needed to make that decision for her. I have no idea if this happens in real life, but I don’t think that is the point. The point is that this song perpetuates the myth that women don’t know what is best for them so it is up to men to make those decisions for them. That is why a bunch of (predominantly) white men in suits sit in government and decide that there need to be restrictions on abortion (more in the US than Canada) so that women don’t make a(nother) mistake. I mean, she was irresponsible enough to spread her legs, surely she can’t be trusted to make a decision about an abortion, thus they seek to confirm her mental health before allowing her to do so. It never ceases to amaze me that these legislators don’t think that women are responsible enough to make a decision regarding abortion, but that they are capable of being a mother.
Canada is an excellent example of how women are perfectly capable of making grown up decisions all on their own. Since the decision in Morgentaler, there have been no restrictions on abortion. Yes, I can walk into a clinic at 38 weeks and get a legal abortion. Here’s the thing: less than 1% of abortions in Canada are done in the 3rd trimester. GASP! But, but, how can that BE!? Women in Canada do not lose the ability to be responsible upon having sex. What anti-choicers fail to realize is that women can be trusted to make responsible decisions, regardless of our sexual habits. Women who abort in the 3rd trimester do so for life-threatening health reasons, either for themselves or the fetus. Women do not carry for 30 weeks and all of a sudden decide they don’t want to be pregnant. That just doesn’t happen.
So why is it that when a woman has sex, she is immediately deemed incapable of making responsible choices? Why is it that we have to jump through hoops, put in place by a government that thinks women cannot be trusted? Such as waiting periods for abortions, just in case we all of a sudden woke up and decided to terminate without thinking through the decision. Ladies and gentlemen, women are not stupid. 50% of the population is not so stupid as to not understand what an abortion is without government hand-holding. So while that boy band song might have just been a song, the lyrics told girls in the 90s that they needed a man to make important life decisions for them. That song taught a generation of young women that they cannot be trusted to make responsible decisions, and thus they must defer to a man, be it one they know, or an elected one. So to all those men who think they need to “make sure” I know what I’m doing (except for sex, don’t want to teach me anything about safe sex…): Yes, I have a vagina, and no, it does not make me stupid.