Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why Must We Always Accommodate?

I just read an interesting article on Jezebel that got me thinking. The article reports that the CDC is now recommending that all women of child-bearing age who are not on birth control simply stop drinking altogether in the interest of preventing FASD. You know, just in CASE they MIGHT get pregnant. The article notes that FASD prevention is a laudable goal, but then notes the obvious problem with this approach:
[F]uck your bodily reactions, your desires, your circumstances; forget that the real problem is abortion access and the fact that birth control occasionally fails. Women, your body is a ticking time bomb in which the bomb is a fetus, so get on birth control or stop drinking—that’s the way it’s going to be!
And this made me think about the fact that there are many other instances in which women are asked to accommodate and alter their own behavior in ways that men are never asked to do, and that put female autonomy on the back burner.

A good example of this is dressing "provocatively" and going "where you shouldn't be" at night. Or even dressing in a manner that men and boys in public places find "distracting." Forget that the problem is rape and its perpetrators. It's the women who "provoke" and "distract" them that are the problem. Make women change their clothes, so that everyone else is comfortable!

Another example is workplace behavior. You don't want to assert yourself too forcefully, ask for a raise, ask someone to stop inappropriately flirting with you, or call others out on professional mistreatment because you don't want to make a "scene" or upset men and other women who think you should get over yourself. Make women adjust their tone and approach, so that everyone else is comfortable!

Or nursing. You shouldn't expose your breasts, because they're "disgusting" and/or "distracting." Instead, you should lock yourself in a bathroom covered with shit, piss, and menstrual blood and sit on a toilet while your infant has his meal. You know, because that's so much less disgusting, and most importantly it will make everyone comfortable. 

Maybe it's time for female autonomy to matter. Maybe it's time to say women should be able to assert themselves professionally how any man would without fear of repercussion; that their right to enjoy a night out with friends during child bearing age, having a drink, and wearing what they want is fine. Or when they do have a baby, allowing it to eat in a restaurant like any other human.

Maybe it's finally time to put a woman's personal autonomy ahead of other people's comfort.

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