Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,12 March 2013

The Snap:

Many a moon ago, my friends and I organized the Women’s History Month celebration at our all-girl Catholic high school and asked Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to speak. I couldn’t tell you what the hell she said because the only thing I remember is standing backstage prepping contingency plans in case she mentioned abortion. Ideas included nuns swooping in on ropes to whisk her out of the auditorium and distracting students by pelting them with thermometers to promote Natural Family Planning—the acceptable birth control for Catholics. (Un)fortunately, she never mentioned it so there were no nun-enabled extractions. Why do we often distill women’s history into reproductive rights? Shouldn’t feminism mean more than that?

The Download:

March is Women’s History Month.  The practice originated because over the millennia, much of history has been reduced to his story with little to no mention of her story. Some argue the time for Women’s History Month has come and gone and that, in the words of a professor and blogger with The Atlantic, this designated month perpetuates the marginalization of women.

Although I wish it weren’t necessary for us to have to proclaim a month as time to recognize women’s role in history, sadly I think it’s still the case. We learn far more about the Fathers of our Country than we do about our Mothers. Ask the average teenager who Elizabeth Cady Stanton was and you’ll find she was too busy tweeting about the insane spinster asking her bizarre questions to even contemplate an answer.

This problem is of course not unique to America. Sadly it seems that around the world, one thing that unites us is society’s tendency to belittle the accomplishments of the female half of the population. Sometimes, it’s done more subtly and other times, it is as subtle as a machete and takes the form of prohibiting women from voting, getting an education, or denying other human and civil rights. Still worse, there are places where it is conducted through sadistic acts of violence seemingly tolerated if not perpetuated by the state.

Too often, the role of women in society is reduced to reproductive rights. While I’ll agree that Roe v. Wade played an integral role in the Women’s Movement in America, why must we always reduce women to our choices and abilities to bear children? Why is it that when women describe themselves, it’s as someone’s wife or mother? Why do we insist on narrowly defining a woman’s worth in terms of her appearance, body, and childbearing and rearing qualities?

I hope you’ll teach your daughters and sons—this month and always—that a woman is far more than her lady bits. Women can do whatever the hell we want and those who think otherwise better beware because—I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—I’m coming at you bastards like a spider monkey.

Hat Tips:

Huffington PostThe HillThe AtlanticPBS, Image Credit: Flickr

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