My Body, My Rights

Okay, so I had an entirely different blog post written for today.  And then I read a post on Facebook from one of my idols and inspirations, Jessica Valenti.  

First, a little background: many of you probably know about the Hobby Lobby ruling: that firms can refuse to provide contraception coverage.  Suffice to say I disagree strongly.  While the court ruling was technically about religious freedom, it’s very clear to feminists everywhere that what’s really at stake here is sex, specifically women’s sexual freedom.  By denying us the right to contraceptives and birth control, we – as women – are basically being told that we do not have a right to sex (P.S. Hobby Lobby can still provide men with Viagra…um okay, what?**).  The Hobby Lobby case was founded on the opinion that women having sex outside of marriage (or for any reason other than making babies) is wrong.  Heaven forbid women have sex because they ENJOY IT.  Well you know what??  WE FUCKING ENJOY IT.

Before I really go off, here’s the post from Jessica Valenti that made me realize just how important this issue is:

“So. I spent the better part of the day - like a lot of female writers I know who covered Hobby Lobby - fielding tweets and messages about what a slut I am. That I should be "jizzed on", that my parents should be ashamed, that the state should take my daughter away, that I want to be gangbanged, that I'm worthless.

I always get a few messages like this a day, but the onslaught today - hundreds of people calling me a whore because I believe in supporting reproductive health - was shocking.

And I am exhausted. Not just of how terrible people can be, but of pretending to be a good sport about it. Those of you who follow me on social media know I often tweet back at haters, make fun of them, retweet them - because that's the only defense I have to take some of that power back, and to show them for the fools they are. I usually laugh at these folks - which is easy to do because they're so ridiculous (and let's face it, say the weirdest things). But I don't feel like laughing anymore tonight because this is not funny - this is fucking awful.

 These are actual human beings - who kiss their kids goodnight hours after smirkingly calling women whores - who are doing this, not just anonymous trolls. 

Playing the role of the sarcastic thick-skinned feminist who lets tireless abuse roll off her back is good for making it easier to do the work day after day, but it's not the truth. The truth is no one can take that much awfulness and not have it impact their soul. So to the other writers, activists and feminists who were dealing with the same shit I was today - I'm really sorry. This sucks.”

I then proceeded to read a bunch of the truly horrendous tweets that have been directed towards Jessica.  They are the most disturbing, depressing, and outrageously ridiculous things I have ever read.  I don’t get angry very often y’all – but right now I am fuming.

I want to cry and scream and punch something.  I want to find every single person who said something nasty today to all the amazing feminist writers out there and yell at them.

I’m so disappointed right now in people.  I’m upset that we live in 2014, and things feel so fucking backwards.  I’m angry that I’m called a slut and a whore for wanting reproductive rights.  I’m outraged that so much of our society thinks a woman embracing her sexuality is wrong. 

No one should be able to deny me the right to sex on my own terms.

No one should be able to threaten me -whether in person or from behind a computer screen - for my beliefs and my opinions.

If you want to wait until you’re married to have sex, more power to you.  But just because I didn’t, or because I have sex for pleasure, doesn’t mean I’m less than you.  It doesn’t mean I should be denied contraception and the tools necessary to have safe and satisfying sex.  It doesn't make it okay to call me names and threaten my well being - sexually and otherwise.

Is our society still so afraid of a sexually liberated woman??

Well, I have news for everyone who thinks it’s okay to bash and bully and attack the women who are fighting for their most basic, most essential rights:

We will not back down.

We will not stop fighting.

There is such a strong and empowering network of brave women out there – and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.  My heart goes out to anyone who was mistreated in lieu of expressing his or her beliefs in support of women’s rights.  Know that you are not alone, and that things WILL change.

Now go have some crazy wild sex! Or don’t!  IT SHOULD BE UP TO YOU.

Photos are from a series I did called 'Contours.'  These images seemed especially fitting: every inch of my body is my right.

Check out Jessica Valenti's piece here.