But don’t think you’ll never see it again
I’m as pleased as six pigs that Barack has Obamanated the international gag rule that prevented federal dough from being doled out to overseas abortion providers. It’s high time that white American godbag dudes got their bible-stained paws off of global uteruses.
But Barack Obama is not the Feminist Messiah, he’s the president of the United States, which, I don’t care how gloppy and weeping-tears-of-joy you are over his election, pretty much makes him the King of World Patriarchy. By which I mean, however benevolent a dictator he is — and I’m not saying he is benevolent — he’s still a dude in charge of a dudely culture of dudely domination. So, until his administration eliminates oppression, he’s totally on the hook for blame.
Check it out, he snuck the order through on Friday night, pretty much keeping it on the DL. I get that he didn’t want to stir up a big partisan whoop-dee-doo, but he either believes women are human or he doesn’t. If he does believe women are human, I wouldn’t mind if he called a press conference during drive time and declared it openly. Ellie Smeal put him on the cover of her magazine wearing a Photoshopped “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” T-shirt, but so far, for a “feminist,” he’s looking fairly, oh, I don’t know, dudely.
I also sniff with some disdain at the women-are-frail-damsels language the president used in his press release. To wit:
[I]t is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development.”
Instead of something like “It is right for us to rescind this policy because women are human beings who are entitled to personal sovereignty.”
So it is perpetuated, this national myth that “we” — meaning “we dudes” — “protect” women by meting out little bits of empowerment here and there as we see fit. You know what? Fuck “protection.” And fuck “empowerment,” too. It’s a flaccid, nearly meaningless term used to describe half-assed half-measures that placate the oppressed and their advocates in lieu of actually liberating them. Nobody who gets “protected” or “empowered” is ever allowed to forget that they enjoy their little perks at the pleasure of the oppressor.
Note also the “promote global economic development” tag. God forbid we should throw women a bone without reassuring an anxious public that there’s money in it somewhere for someone. What’s good for the goose had better be good for the gander, or why bother? Sure, women who have control over their reproductive functions have a better shot at clawing their way out of poverty, but if that’s what Obama meant — and I’m not saying it is — why didn’t he spell it out? Everybody knows who is likely to benefit the most from the promotion of “global economic development.”
Unto those of you who are about to make the “baby steps” argument concerning the language and style of Obama’s order, I say this: this godbag gag rule has already been rescinded once (by Bill Clinton), but the minute W strolled into the Oval Office it went right back on the books. So, to recap: according to official US policy, during the Reagan years women weren’t human, then we were kind of semi-human again for eight years, then for the next eight years we weren’t. Now we kind of are again. Obviously it’s just a matter of time until the next presidential buttmunch rescinds the rescindment. These aren’t “baby steps”; they don’t lead anywhere, least of all toward feminist revolt. This is just politics. You can tell it is, because Obama, a politician, says it isn’t.*
And while I’m at it, what about this zany doublespeak recently adopted by some pro-choicers?
“It is actually a great day for those who oppose abortion,” said Steven W. Sinding, a past director-general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and population adviser to the World Bank. “This will help many of the most effective providers of family planning services to enable women to avoid unwanted pregnancies.”
Don’t misunderstand me; I’m as super-pro-birth control as the next spinster aunt, but this rhetoric about “reducing unwanted pregnancies” continues to allow the argument — nay, even promotes the argument — that abortion is bad. Which is bad. Because — I’ll say it again — what goes on in a person’s private uterus must be value-neutral if women are ever to be liberated from the sex class.
* “For too long,” [Obama] said, “international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back-and-forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate.”