My BFF, Denise, posted a link about how some people were taken in by a new Onion headline, which proclaimed: “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex.”
In response, a “friend” of hers on Facebook said: “I’m sorry to rude….but you really need to get a life! Have kids? . . . If you haven’t carried a baby in your body, you really have to step off this subject.”
Part of Denise’s response: “I’m glad that motherhood is awesome for you, but don’t imagine that the mere fact that you birthed those kids yourself makes you better than anyone else. You might be better than other people. You might be better than me. But the fact that you gave birth isn’t the reason why.”
Natasha, the “friend”: “Actually….it is. Sorry “
Of course, several people, including Courtney, in a fabulous post suggesting that surely Natasha was just doing satire and we weren’t getting it, weighed in. I even started a new (probably short-lived) meme when I said:
“The baby I carried is graduating from high school in a few weeks. We’re both pro-choice & we both think that ALL women have the right to choice, and the right to debate abortion rights; however, we’re confused about why someone would “choose” to actually think they’re better than other people because they did what most female animals do. I’m especially aware that Denise is in fact a better person than I am–she’s way more patient and generous and thoughtful, which is why when and if she ever chooses to push a baby out, she’s going to be gracious enough not to tell anyone that it gives her mystical pussy superiority.” Apparently, some people think that last bit needs to appear on a coffee mug or band t-shirt somewhere.
This conversation is still bugging me. I can’t even discuss this woman’s claim that to not have children is to not have a life. Not without using some very bad language.
And I want it noted that I have no trouble when people decide that they’re better than other people. I think I’m better than whole groups of people (people with confederate flags on their trucks, people who think reality tv is unscripted, people who think The Simpsons is for children, people who deny the holocaust happened, etc).
I think I’m better than other people when I think their ideas are dumb, not when our experience has been different. I have absolutely no patience for people who say that every woman wants a baby, whether she knows it or not. Or that all women must have a baby. Or that we must have babies cause that’s the gift god gave us in lieu of being able to understand his writings on our own (& variations on that theme). Or that if we do have babies, we must stay home. And we must breastfeed. And we must do whatever it is this self-righteous woman is doing.
You see, if we all HAVE to do exactly whatever she’s done, then it will totally validate all her choices. It will also confirm that she’s a “good” mom. I only know this person from her posts this week, but I can see why we might need to confirm that.
I’m also stuck on the logic of stepping off a subject like abortion rights. Of course, to me it seems that all women should be interested in abortion rights (all men too, since presumably they might love a woman who will have to make this choice & in the best situations will make a choice with her). By Natasha’s logic, all men should step off this.
All non-teachers should step off the debate about unions, tenure, and pay. If you haven’t been in the classroom, how can you even talk about our benefits?
And of course, if you’re not gay, then you shouldn’t have a damn thing to say about gay rights, right?
Can we change it so that only gays can vote on gay rights and only teachers can negotiate teacher pay?
(I’m thinking Natasha maybe hasn’t thought this through.)
Finally, I am reminded of all the times when people made assumptions about how my having a vagina would influence my beliefs. For example, Natasha seems to think that since a baby has come out of me, that I would be pro-life. Years and years ago, when it looked like Libby Dole might run for President, a Republican friend said, “Oh, you’ll finally vote Republican!”
“Why?” I asked.
“Well, you’d like to see a woman President, right?”
“I would love to see a woman President if I agreed with her political positions. No one gets my vote just because she has a vagina.”