Is it time to go Lysistrata?

In the ancient (written circa 411 BCE) Greek comedy Lysistrata, the character of the title attempts to end the Peloponnesian War by getting the women of Greece to leverage what power they have to influence the men in charge of that society. These women agree that until the war is over, there will be no sex.*

It strikes me that in the year 2012 we are seeing in the U.S. a political war waged against women's personhood and bodily autonomy.** As part of this war, lawmakers have required women to endure waiting periods (in the span of days) to obtain a legal medical procedure which becomes progressively less safe the longer it is delayed. As part of this war, lawmakers will require that women who seek a legal medical procedure be subjected to a medically unnecessary procedure that, when conducted without consent, amounts to rape. As part of this war, other lawmakers are seeking to remove the legal right to this medical procedure altogether (and to treat doctors who perform it as criminals). The warriors rolling back bodily autonomy elide termination of pregnancy with prevention of pregnancy, and frame as a matter of religious freedom the desire of members of certain religions to restrict the bodily autonomy of people who do not even adhere to those religions.

This is a war in which, in the year 2012, the very availability of contraceptives (which, by the way, have reasonable medical uses besides preventing pregnancy) is now up for grabs.

I don't know about you, but my plans for 2012 ran more to jet-packs than The Handmaid's Tale. And I'm starting to wonder if it might not be time to go Lysistrata to end this damn war.

You see, the fact that in the U.S. women make up more than half of the voting age population doesn't mean that women make up a proportional share of elected lawmakers (or judges, or presidents of the United States). And members of the U.S. House of Representatives apparently think it's just fine to convene hearings on contraception coverage featuring 10 expert witnesses, eight of whom are male, and none of whom testify in support of contraceptive coverage. And politicians from the party that's supposedly carrying the progressive banner think it's politically smart to use our bodily autonomy as a bargaining chip -- to get stuff that's more important, apparently.

What's more important to you than autonomy over your own body? If you can make a list here, I'm guessing it's not very long.

What if we declared a sex-strike until the people who purport to represent us came around to the view that our personhood and bodily autonomy is non-negotiable?

Sure, such an action is unlikely to reach the forced-birth theocratic extremists, since they are pretty open in their view that women are lesser creatures, not to be trusted with decisions about their own health or lives.*** My guess is that these people do not care terribly about the wishes of women with whom they are partnered**** (or, if they do, that they regard these women as exceptional compared to the women against whom they seek to use governmental power). Persuading these extremists of my personhood would be about as rewarding trying to have a dialogue with a hexagon, and significantly less likely to succeed.

But maybe a sex-strike would grab the attention of our fair-weather feminist allies, the ones who pay all kinds of lip service to our personhood and bodily autonomy when there's an election to win, then turn on their heels and start bargaining it away for their own political advantage.

These folks might change their ways if they had skin in the game -- or, as they case might be, if they got no skin and no game.

Far be it from me to suggest that men are more vulnerable to their desire for funsexytime than are women. They are not. However, I reckon it's easier to be in the mood for funsexytime when your very personhood is not up for debate.

I find legislative threats to my bodily autonomy a real mood-killer. And, I'd much rather share funsexytime with a partner who takes my well-being seriously enough to view the war on woman as a war that needs to be stopped in its tracks, now. Someone who wouldn't see it as politically expedient, let alone clever.

Because guess what? I would never presume I was entitled to funsexytime with someone whose personhood and bodily autonomy I didn't step up to fight for when it was under threat. Heck, I would step up to fight for the personhood and bodily autonomy even of people with whom I have no desire to have funsexytime because that's what decent human beings do.

And my choice is to refrain from funsexytime with anyone to whom my interests do not matter at least that much. People who cannot manage to see me and others like me as fully human do not deserve to get any action that might not also result in a repetitive stress injury.

Not being all-in in the fight to protect the bodily autonomy and personhood of women and others with uteri is a deal-breaker for me. Is it a deal-breaker for you?

_____
*Including no "Lioness on The Cheese Grater," a sex position upon which we can only hope SciCurious will one day blog.

**This is also a war against the bodily autonomy of other persons with uteri.

***And yet, to be entrusted with babies that they may not want. If ever there was a non-standard logic ...

****This does raise the question for me of how men of this sort can have sex with women who they view as not-fully-human by virtue of the very fact that they are women. Wouldn't such sexual congress amount to bestiality, the next step on the slippery slope after gay marriage, which they are generally against?

11 responses so far