My generation mixed up and served that Koolaid, Vena. I drank it too. However I have indeed had it all, a bit at time, all at different times. During the course of my long life with the very important exception of kids, I’ve had more than the average woman. And I’ve had my share of the attackers and naysayers and blamers who felt it was my job to deliver live children for the State. Not only was that not my State of mind, if you’ll pardon the pun, but I’m the last person on earth you want raising kids. I can hardly raise myself. But that doesn’t convey some moral ground that raises me above those who choose kids, or choose to stay home. I used to think it did, and thank God I grew out of it.
While I heartily agree with all your points, I think, Vena, that one of the challenges we have is that we have to evolve enough in our own lives to be able to let go of needing to be right about the path we chose, kids or no kids, whatever. When we vilify others, it strikes me that all we’re really doing is hurriedly adding bricks to the tentative foundation of our own beliefs, wobbly as they may be.
The real challenge is to be mature enough to understand that ONLY we can give birth, and that is the price women pay for that right, and that society at large values money over motherhood (or else it would ensure all kinds of support systems for those mothers) and until we stop punishing women for being women, we girls, gals, biddies and bitches will keep on clawing at each other over nothing. Nothing. Nothing. While men who do hold the purse strings are mightily amused, righteously validated about how petty we all are, and march off to the bank with our meager earnings.
We waste our lives arguing about NOTHING. The issues are important, but the far larger one is that men don’t value women. While clearly that is a vast overstatement, everything you write in your article speaks to that. That cascades down through race, is exacerbated by color. I could note the morbidity rate for newborns among Black women, with Serena Williams’ story a very sobering and public example of just that, but I don’t need to tell you. (Your point about prison rates for Black men is of course a whole other issue but that is more about race than gender, and is a whole other area of study). If Black men are allowed to roam free, OMG, they might find Black women and mate, and OMG, now we have more Black people. Kindly forgive my scathing tone here. Please don’t get me started.
With all those folks arguing that we were told by the Almighty to “go forth and multiply,” what, where does it say that He was pointing at a specific demographic? And since His Son happened to be a very dark-skinned Middle Eastern rabble rouser, how did that instruction get interpreted as Only White People? If we are multiplying (and we are, too many of us for that matter) why is it that the very support systems which would better insure healthy, well-educated adults either collapse, or struggle for funds, perpetuating poverty, ill health and other issues that cost us trillions?
But I digress.
We don’t value women, therefore we don’t value women’s work, women’s lives, women’s health. It is that stark, that simple. That ludicrous. Again, I am well aware that this is a gross oversimplification. But pull back far enough, and when you start teasing out all the metrics around unresearched rape kits, how many laws there on the books governing women’s bodies, oh, again, please don’t get me started.
There are of course plenty of individuals for whom this is not true. But when you and I parce out the lay of the land, we resent women, we don’t respect them, they have to be reduced, controlled, constrained. Add, color and the issues get uglier indeed. Add poverty, the same. We hate each other because we are not wise enough to know that such hate is wasted. We are manipulated into such ridiculous arguments because we aren’t smart enough to understand that our sister is our ally, not our enemy.
Skinner’s Box. We turn on each other, rather than turn on the system that has been structured to keep us at each other’s throats over issues like whether I am real woman only if I have kids, or if the woman having kids is a useless breeding machine.
That such thoughts would even occur is horrific. But that’s just me.
Thanks for a smart piece. Vena. Soap box put away now.