When straight men want to insult gay men, they call them women. Just why do both groups think such a comment is an insult? Why can’t it be a compliment to be called feminine?
It was an eventful month in the (imaginary ha!) War On Women.
Sean Connery reaffirmed his belief in slapping women – but only when the situation merits it.
Pat Robertson says wives should reward their husbands for household chores with sex.
Opponents of Wendy Davis plastered Los Angeles with “Abortion Barbie” posters ahead of a Hollywood fundraiser for her Texas governor campaign.
Violence against women is a trending topic in the public square, – all because some misogynistic penis owner in Santa Barbara couldn’t get laid. Just like guns after Sandy Hook, women have been presented with a brief window of time to talk about how we’d really appreciate it if men would stop hitting us and raping us and killing us.
We lost a great feminist leader in the passing of Maya Angelou. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings shook the windows and rattled the doors in its discussion of sexual abuse. She was a single mother in a time girls in a “family way” married the father or shamed the family. She was also Hollywood’s first black female director. And I loved the way she wrote, soft in the center but surrounded by rough jagged edges.
May will also be remembered as the month a new feminist leader made a stand: Emily Lett, a twenty-five-year-old doula who decided to tape her abortion to show women the procedure is not at all scary, and is nothing to be ashamed of.
(Here’s a confession. I had no idea what a “doula” was. I had to look it up. It’s a “non-medical assistant in childbirth”.)
There are three kinds of doulas. Birth. Adoption. Abortion. Emily is the abortion kind. She works as a counselor at The Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey. Emily explained in an article for Cosmopolitan that women often came into the clinic:
“…terrified that they are going to be cut open, convinced that they won’t be able to have kids after the abortion. The misinformation is amazing, but think about it: They are still willing to sacrifice these things because they know that they can’t carry the child at this moment.”
Then Emily herself ended up pregnant. Like a lot of women, since she didn’t have a regular partner, she didn’t want to subject her body to chemicals it didn’t need, so she took a chance on the rhythm method.
“The moment when a woman looks down and sees those two pink lines and she’s not expecting to see them, it’s like time implodes and explodes simultaneously. You’re caught in this tornado that just sucks out all the breath in your lungs.”
It’s a feeling thousands upon thousands of women can identify with, since one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Emily knew immediately she did not want to have the child, so she scheduled an abortion. Then she undertook one of the most courageous acts I have witnessed.
“I searched the Internet, and I couldn’t find a video of an actual surgical procedure in the clinic that focused on the woman’s experience. We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like. A first trimester abortion takes three to five minutes. It is safer than giving birth. There is no cutting, and risk of infertility is less than one percent.”
Emily’s pregnancy was early enough that she could have chosen a medical abortion, where all she would have had to do is swallow a pill. But she decided to have a surgical abortion so she could tape it as an educational video. Now women everywhere can access it and learn the facts about what to expect. Emily says she wants women to know it isn’t true that women who have abortions are haunted by them – that what most women feel is relief.
“Our society breeds this guilt. We inhale it from all directions. Even women who come to the clinic completely solid in their decision to have an abortion say they feel guilty for not feeling guilty. Even though they know 110 percent that this is the best decision for them, they pressure themselves to feel bad about it.”
Emily posted her abortion video to her Facebook page, and in no time it went viral. I would urge you to read her own account: Why I Filmed My Abortion. I have posted the video below if you care to watch. The procedure is shown from the waist up, and the doctor is off camera. It’s not scary or gross in the least.
“…every time I watch the video, I love it. I love how positive it is. I think that there are just no positive abortion stories on video for everyone to see. But mine is.”
I have some word for her act. Strong. Courageous. Selfless.
Why is it again that calling someone a woman is an insult?
How you can tell the War On Women isn’t imaginary? Because it is creating real flesh and blood heroes: Wendy Davis. Sandra Fluke. Now add the name Emily Letts. I am in awe of her.
Photo via Twitter
Jean Ann Esselink is a straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.