What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Letter #144... Dear Mr. President... The War on Women is Worldwide, and it's Real.

Dear Mr. President,

The other day I wrote about legislation related to women’s reproductive health issues. I referred to what is currently happening all across this country as the T.M.T.ing of women, or Traumatizing, Marginalizing and Trivializing.

I'm reminded of the first case of child abuse in this country... in 1874 in New York City the case of Mary Ellen a 9 year old girl being abused by her foster mother. After investigating Mary Ellen's home a social worker found her suffering from malnutrition, serious physical abuse including cuts from scissors, and severe neglect. Because there were no laws protecting children, the social worker turned to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), that's right... animals had protection before children. It was argued that because the child was a member of the "animal kingdom" she deserved the courts protection. In 1875 the New York Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Children became the first protective agency for children in the world. It took an additional 37 years until a bill to create the Children's Bureau, became law under President Taft in 1912.

Mary Ellen in 1874
I mention all of this because the plight of Mary Ellen can be equated to the struggle women have been fighting for their whole lives. It really is incomprehensible that women are still fighting for protection and recognition as equals today, and lately the fight is getting down right ugly.

The audacity of Republicans in Congress, and on the campaign trail to presume to know more about women’s health issues then the women themselves is mind-boggling. Why would they object to contraceptives being a mandated health care medication, I don’t seeing them fighting to discontinue paying for Viagra, which is not related to the issue of ‘health’ as much as it is to ‘pleasure’.

Then there’s the religious right wing-nuts that continue to yap about contraception being unnatural and not wanting to pay for it, or even condoning it’s use. But, when it comes to a man wanting a vasectomy… no problem. Isn’t having a vasectomy the ultimate in contraception... isn’t the only reason for having one is to alleviate the possibility of getting a woman pregnant? And do we ever hear about a mans promiscuity after having a vasectomy, are we reminded that he can now have sex as often as he wants because he can’t get a woman pregnant? The answer is a resounding NO!

Yes, there is a war against women and it’s worldwide. Gender preference in China and India where ultrasounds are routinely used to determine the sex of a baby before birth, and although supposedly illegal, aborting female babies. Female Infanticide is commonplace in many parts of the world. Female genital mutilation is routine even in very young girls in many parts of Africa.

The war on women is real, the systematic devaluation of women is real, the abuse of women is real, children forced into prostitution is real, young girls sold by their parents is real, girls as young as 6 or 7 sold into slavery is real, honor killings of women are real, and the fact that laws were passed by men in this country to protect animals before children was real… if Mary Ellen could testify again, she would tell you just how real it was for her. Yes Mr. President, I’m sure Mary Ellen would agree that women are still being traumatized, marginalized, and trivialized even after more than 125 years of being declared mere members of the animal kingdom.

Now ask yourself how you would feel, as a woman in America, where the men in government are passing laws and making decisions that affect your health, your well being, and your life. As a woman I can tell you… I’m not ‘feelin’ the love’.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
The Gadfly Granny

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