I Am Neither A Vagina Nor A Slut, But You’d Better Believe I’m A Feminist

Hey, you! My eyes are up here – You know, right in the front of the orb that cradles my favorite body part, my brain. I know. You’ve been looking for my vagina. Really, I can’t blame you. It’s gotten a lot of action lately. No, silly, I don’t mean like that. I mean that people are talking about it, a lot.

First, there’s that pesky War on Women. The GOP, it seems, wants to tell me that I can’t make my own decisions. They are much more comfortable letting the Catholic church make my decisions for me, even though I’m not a Catholic. Father knows best, I guess.

It seems that Republican men have adopted a ‘don’t speak unless spoken to’ policy toward women. Even when allowed to speak, apparently certain words are taboo, like the word ‘vagina.’ Since it’s time to revert back to euphemisms, I have a few ideas:

  • The truth tube
  • The heterosexual agenda
  • Baby gotta come out sometime
  • The Magic Queendom
  • The place from which all human life, even Catholic priests, began
  • And my personal favorite – A wholly owned subsidiary of me

Calling a woman a ‘slut’ for wanting to use her vagina for one of its intended purposes is a pretty sleazy thing to do. Kicking adult women out of the conversation, simply because they are women, is also pretty shitty. Kicking adult women out of the conversation because they dare to use the anatomically correct word, ‘vagina’ in front of a bunch of men? Priceless. I’m not Sigmund Freud, but we seem to have a lot of grown men with serious mommy issues. Still haven’t gotten over the idea that your mom let your dad do that to her, Rush?

Naturally, women are pissed. I’m pissed too. Women have had the vote for almost 100 years now. We’re CEOs, Congresspeople, Secretaries of State and even truck drivers, but we still, apparently, don’t deserve equal pay. The very fact that we have vaginas means that we pay more for health insurance. If we accidentally get pregnant, the fault is all ours, even, according to some, if we are raped. If we are Catholic or Mormon (to name just two), we can’t be priests, but we sure as hell better obey the priests (pun intended).

Single mothers are accused of abuse. If we set aside our pride and ask for help in feeding our children, we are called ‘freeloaders.’ If a man refuses to take responsibility for his children, he’s elected to Congress. If a woman refuses to take responsibility for her kids, there’s a good chance she’ll end up in jail, and she’ll certainly be shunned.

When we take birth control, we’re called sinful and even ‘sluts.’ When we don’t take birth control, we’re called irresponsible for having too many children.

Ahh, yes, I’m sure our Suffragette sisters would be proud of all that society has accomplished.

Yes, women are pissed. For the first time in about two generations, we are taking to the streets, and for that, I am proud. But what is our message? For many women, the message seems to be the reclaiming of words; in this case, the words, ‘vagina’ and ‘slut.’ My question to those women is, to what endgame? How will we have advanced as a society once those two words become socially acceptable? How does calling myself a ‘slut’ or a ‘vagina’ make me a whole human being in the eyes of the GOP?

Planned Parenthood is an incredible organization. I’m sure that I can credit them, in part, with the fact that I have been able to live my life in pursuit of my dreams. But even they have jumped on the silly bus. How many hearts and minds will be won by a woman dressed as a pack of birth control? How many conflicted women will be turned off by the stunt?

Do we, as women, want to be relegated to single words or to a pink birth control packet? Doesn’t this tactic play right into Republicans’ hands? The problem with Republicans is not that they don’t see the pill as a women’s issue. It’s not that they don’t see us as having vaginas. It’s that they ONLY see the pill as a women’s issue, instead of something that’s a benefit to all of society. It’s that they ONLY see our vaginas, while ignoring our minds and dismissing our opinions.

Unlike the Suffragettes, many of today’s feminist activists seem to be reactive instead of proactive. Is the neutralization of the word ‘slut’ really one of our goals? Why the hell are we letting Rush Limbaugh set our agenda? As women, we have a problem with women. The women’s movement has always been somewhat divisive. More traditional stay-at-home moms have often felt left out of the conversation. I highly doubt that defining women as ‘sluts’ and ‘vaginas’ or parading around as birth control pills is speaking to this group of women.

Why don’t we spend more time talking about their concerns? Why don’t we talk about the fact that Republicans don’t want their children to have healthcare or education? Why don’t we talk about the fact that if they accidentally get pregnant at 45, the GOP still wants to force Grandma to have that baby? Why don’t we talk about the fact that Republicans want to lay off the teachers that teach their children or the police or firefighters that keep them safe? Why don’t we talk about the fact that far too many men are still getting away with abandoning their kids? Why don’t we talk about women’s health in a more comprehensive way? Why don’t we talk about the fact that it’s not their vagina that is being silenced, it’s their words; it’s their opinions; it’s their humanity?

I’m not saying that the ‘slut’ and ‘vagina’ protesters aren’t fighting for all these issues, but I am saying that their message is becoming lost behind what is looked at by many as mere stunts. Sure, I have a vagina. I’ve even arguably been a slut at times. But that’s not who I am. My true self resides about 2 1/2 feet (give or take) north of my vagina.

It seems I’m not alone in my opinion. Sandra Fluke, the woman who inadvertently started the ‘slut’ movement, said that she refuses to engage in a “playground mouth battle” with the right. She went on say, (from Raw Story):

“One of the things we have to grapple with in the women’s movement and in the reproductive rights movement is that we feel very much under attack. We feel so much under attack that we’re taking a very reactionary approach,” Fluke advised progressive activists. She noted that she could better connect with those she aimed to reach by staying focused. “We have to start talking about the stories otherwise the other side will talk about them for us.”

As a woman, I’ve spent a lifetime battling trivialization. Why are we trivializing ourselves? I agree with Fluke, it’s time we stop with the playground taunts and antics and focus on actual dialogue.

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