A surprise double yolk for this morning’s pancakes. Because I’m immature, this made me think of cleavage. *insert snicker here* Because I’m an adult, what it did not do was make me want to reach out and grab the yolks with my bare hands to give a little squish.
I remember being little and admiring my grandmother’s cleavage. It seemed so powerfully adult, that hint of simultaneous swell and wrinkles. Of course, I also admired the way she could take her teeth out and clean them in a separate glass, her lifetime bus pass, and the way she could cup her hand and use her palm as an ashtray. She had her own ideas about men and women, which she shared through lectures equally generous and cryptic. As far as I could tell they boiled down to men were not to be trusted (outside of progeny–in which case, they should be lionized), marriage was a necessary evil–so be sure to marry rich, and fergawdssake don’t have too many babies. She was what used to be called a tough cookie, and I wanted nothing more than to grow up to be her.
I’m a blabber-fingers left-leaning blogger, which means I indulge in the not so occasional political rant. I don’t address every injustice I see or read about (impossible), or even every big story, because I’m exhausted and frequently too damned disheartened. Is there such a thing as blogging battle fatigue? Do I have the right to feel it when I don’t address all? Yesterday I came across this story. A few days late, because I’ve been busy rattling my pots and pans, sticking to the kitchen–barefoot, naturally. I considered blogging when I first saw it, but what could I possibly say? So I posted the link on my personal Facebook page, thinking I would just spread a bit of awareness amongst my three friends and that would be that. One friend replied with a statement about Republican men, and another friend replied to the first about the unfairness of the blanket statement. Fair enough, and it made me think. Not only because it is unfair to categorize ALL Republican men, but because it implies male Democrats are ALL more enlightened. Would that it were so. I woke up still thinking, and decided I couldn’t let this incident pass without comment here on Mrs Fringe. Because I’m a woman. And as a woman, I say without hesitation that this is bullshit.
The gist of the story: State Rep (NH) Amanda Bouldin (woman) wrote a statement opposing a proposal made by State Rep Josh Moore (man). The proposal is for it to be a misdemeanor for women to expose their nipples in public. Bouldin disagreed in a statement on her Facebook page, saying the bill should *at least* exempt breastfeeding mothers. The proposed bill actually does exempt breastfeeding mothers, but that isn’t the problem. The issue is Moore’s response (written on Facebook, later deleted–when will people learn there are no take-backs on the internet? Your Words ❤ The Internetz R 4eVER), where he wrote that Bouldin (and women in general, I guess) should have no problem with a man’s natural response to stare and grab when a woman exposes her nipples in public while breastfeeding. This all devolved in true internet fashion into comments from other men as to whose nipples they would/would not want to see.
I’m sure Moore thought he was being clever, perhaps even funny, a play on the “argument” that breastfeeding is natural. Cause, yanno, women’s breasts are really for and about men. Not babies, and certainly not women. This shouldn’t be an argument, a debate, or even an issue. What he described is assault. This isn’t a breastfeeding debate. This is about women; our rights to control and make decisions over our own bodies, our right to be safe. If his natural inclination is to assault every woman he sees, or at least every woman where he spies a bit of pink or brown skin, I am afraid for every woman he has ever or will ever come into contact with. I feel sorry for him, and every man like him, who believes they not only have no control over themselves, but it’s the fault of evil-original-sin WIMMINZ, for having breasts. And wombs. And vaginas. And calves, thighs, hair, lips, and ankles. No wonder we need men to tell us how to care for and hide our bodies. *sarcasm* More than fear and pity, I’m fed up. This man was elected. He represents far too many: right, left, or libertarian.
That he would even say this is an assault, a not-so-clever play at intimidation. When someone wonders what is meant by the phrase “rape culture,” this is it. This statement tells women we not only aren’t safe from unwanted stares, pinches, and grabs, we have no right to expect safety. Regardless of age, race, religion, or socioeconomic class, I’m guessing at least 98% of women have experienced multiple moments of feeling unsafe, feeling and/or being assaulted by unwanted remarks, leers, hands, or full body grinds on a not-so-crowded bus or subway car.
As time goes on, I believe there are fewer men who think along these lines. More men understand human rights, the need for equality in the social contract, fewer believe entitlement is a natural extension of dangly bits. Not enough, though.
Women have fought for and won many advances. In many countries we can vote, work outside the home (though not necessarily for equal pay), own property, hold political office, expose our ankles. But we still can’t do any of these things with a reasonable expectation that we won’t be groped along the way.