A series a la Anti-Feminist Mailbag where we respond to some of the hateful and/or bigoted comments we often get on our posts.
We got an e-mail a while back here at the Abortion Gang in response to a post we had up, and I opted to address the ‘concerns’ of the sender. Not because I felt that the sender had put so much thought into their questions that they deserved to be responded to, and not because they had touched on anything that profound or original. Mainly because their message was so hateful baring overwhelming classist and racist overtones that I did not feel like they should get to sit smugly in the glow of their computer screen feeling proud of themselves for the baseless things they said thinking that they were helping change minds and make a difference.
Also, I wanted to address this e-mail, because I know a horrible truth. That there are others out there who believe just like the sender of the e-mail. Perhaps one of them can be reached through a thoughtful reply to these ideas. The message, in all its glory, is shared below. The name has been withheld to protect the ignorant…you know who you are. As you read, just remember to breathe. This too shall pass.
Here’s a novel idea. How about women make the CONSCIOUS DECISION to NOT get pregnant while they’re homeless, jobless, already have several children, in an abusive relationship, etc.??? Take responsibility for yourself! I’m not about to feel sorry for a woman because she’s pregnant with her 4th child (and probably 4th baby daddy) and now “the gubment” isn’t doing enough to help her out. Of course this isn’t indicative of all homeless women and I’m certainly over-simplifying the situation. But it’s comparable to the situation in many 3rd world countries. People are sick and dying, not enough food or clean drinking water, but they’re having babies! I don’t understand the logic.
First things first. A novel idea is one that is defined as new or unusual in an interesting way. Unfortunately you suffer from a bit of naivety in believing that anything you have proposed here is new, unusual, or in any sense interesting. So right off the bat, I had to burst that bubble, because I previously mentioned, I have heard these utterances in the past. Now onto your next statement, or rather should I say, modest proposal. Rather than answer it right away, I would rather make a proposal of my own to the sender and anyone else out there is prone to this same disrespectful behavior. How about everyone STOP JUDGING women and their situations, especially when you have no idea about their lives or their circumstances?? Mind the business that is yours and yours alone!
Now to address what the points in the sender’s proposal, and there are many that have to be addressed. Next what needs to be realized is that not only do women who are taking precautions still get pregnant, but if they do get pregnant, whatever decision they make, whether it be to go forward with the pregnancy or to terminate it, they ARE TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEMSELVES! (I am using the all caps like the sender…effective? I’m not convinced.) Also, let me say that calling out women in abusive relationships for getting pregnant borders on victim blaming, and given once again your complete lack of consideration for context, could be crossing that border with reckless abandon. You label and target so many women with your tirade, it does kind of beg the question, exactly who do you think should be allowed to have children without facing some sort of scorn or judgment?
Never mind that, lets move on. Next, exactly who is asking you to feel sorry for anyone? I do not exactly understand where this is coming from. Though with the racial overtones that finish up your thoughts on this topic. I feel the stereotypes that you are attaching to this assertion completely wreaks of both racist and classist ideals. Not to mention the hints of underlying slut shaming that you stick for what feels like to balance out the hate. But I do not want to make any assumptions, that is why I am not saying that the sender is either racist or classist, just that the things they have said are. The repeated berating of women who are homeless is beyond reprehensible, given that no consideration is being made for the sexist, patriarchal systems that create the gaining percentages in women being made homeless and more financially unstable than men in our society.
Coupled with the declining access to abortion many face today, so many women are unable to choose anything. They have to go forward with the only option they have afforded to them. Add in the number of women who think they are pursuing a route to terminate the pregnancy, but they visit a Crisis Pregnancy Center and they are lied to and purposely misled. Told that they are not as far along as they are so that the CPC can delay them beyond the point when many physicians will agree to perform an abortion so that they end up having to have the child regardless of their situation. So even if they are cautious when having intercourse and they still get pregnant, then they attempt to not have the child, but because of societal roadblocks they must, would their situation classify as one reasonable enough for you to not judge them for having the child?
Or do I smell something else in your statement? Is that more than just a hint of slut shaming that I initially detected? Could it be that you expect women in these situations, or facing the listed circumstances to not engage in sexual activity at all, protected or not? Is that a more of a puritanical proposal of abstinence then? I know that I am not alone in recognizing the unreasonableness of this request. At this point I thought I would highlight once more that all of these women, no matter their circumstances are in fact taking the responsibility for themselves. Though, you do not see it that way, because of the financial aspect as you so blatantly point out. You see someone needing assistance from the government as somehow being irresponsible. Even though our government’s policies for years have systematically caused a rise in the need for government assistance. Cycling your statements back to classism once again.
Then you come around to acknowledging your generalizations and skewed perspectives as if that makes everything that you have said okay, but I have to tell you that it really doesn’t because at the base of it all, everyone should STOP JUDGING women and their situations, especially when you have no idea about their lives or their circumstances. (Okay, so I did the all caps thing again, but I am not proud of it.) And it certainly does not excuse the racist overtones inflected throughout. In fact, it makes it that much worse. As if you are then saying that though you recognize this is not indicative of all homeless women, just those that fit in within the confines of your racist stereotyping, are the ones you are deriding. Making your overall assertions much more problematic. Which you seem to just dive in to the problematic end of the pool of social commentary to cap things off with your privileged, derogatory disconnect from reason you impose both on those in this country and those in what you see as the comparable 3rd world nations.
Anyway, I figure that is much more in-depth a dissection of your thoughts than you were expecting, given that it was more of one than I initially intended to offer. However, as I wrote, I felt more and more of an obligation to address as many of the problematic elements as I could, because I do truly hope that someone who believes like the sender will read this response and actually rethink these ideas they put forward. But then again, perhaps I am asking too much…