...I don't have to tell you that because you're progressives and you already understand.
I didn't grow up in a time of extreme female sexual repression. It was the 80s and 90s. Androgyny was a normal thing. Women wearing lingerie and crooning about sex fantasies on TV was commonplace. My mentality about sex was molded by these images. It was also shaped by the straight male gaze in most pornography which was also a mirror image of what I saw on TV. There's an element of exploitation in this imagery that was still a bit liberating in the sense that I could look forward to not having to act like those girls on the 50s rerun shows. Women clearly wanted it as much as men did, they just weren't told that it was okay to be the initiator. I was "told" that it was more than okay. It was normal. It was almost mandatory.
That wasn't the case at all. Things didn't change because women weren't told something. Women don't have to be told how they feel about being alive. Women didn't have to be told that sex was a part of living and being human. Women didn't have to be told that it was okay for them to feel any way they wanted to feel about sex because it was normal and right. They always knew. The problem was in simple biology. SHE'S the one in "trouble" when a pregnancy results, not HIM.
When I became old enough to worry about birth control, I realized that the pill is what made all the sexual progress possible. There's no way you could go around initiating a good time when you've got pregnancy as a worry. STDs are rampant and condoms are necessary unless throwing yourself on a HIV craps table is your kind of fun.
I did exactly what I wanted to do. What I didn't want to do was drink alcohol and smoke. I liked boys and I believed it was normal and right.
I wasn't raised conservatively and in a religious family. My grandfather played the blues. We were all going to hell on his account and he didn't even take us to church much to try and redeem our souls. Fine with me because I'd rather go to hell. Better music down there. I'll organize hell and kick the devil's ass, praise Jesus. I'm a woman. Women could do anything.
Women were wearing big shoulder pads on EVERYTHING, even t-shirts. Looking back on that fashion, I can't understand what made me think that was cute. lol It wasn't the look, it was the message in that style and you had to be alive then to understand why it was alright to see women with giant man shoulders carrying briefcases to work, wearing Reebox on their feet instead of pumps. The pumps were in her briefcase. She had to hustle her way down Business Lane just like the men in the Brooks Brothers suits and flat shoes. You can't race him for the cabs and the subway cars in pumps. She got some track shoes for their asses. She would wear her pumps behind her big desk and her big important name plate.
Women were working at NASA, going into orbit with the guys. And why not? She was smart and she was smaller.
There was even a popular movie about a woman who was a welder and a part time dancer. No big deal. Women could very well be welders. Didn't seem weird to me.
I couldn't see any of these things the way I should have seen them. I should have seen it as a major breakthrough, a revolution. I was born too late for that. The party was on when I arrived. I took things for granted because I was young and it had always been that way for me.
I'm not saying that everything was peachy for women in those days. There were still struggles with wage inequality and affirmative action was required for a lot of women to even have a chance at proving themselves. The world was opening up to women but a lot of doors were remaining tightly and stubbornly shut. A lot of ceilings were still made of glass in those days.
In spite of that, I felt hopeful and optimistic. It was like being a new, young soldier on the winning side of a very old war that was coming to an end just as you arrive on the field. The enemy is still approaching but we're on a hill, picking them off like snipers and they don't have a chance. It's the easy assignment and it's my first one. Ha! War is awesome! I was so busy thinking about what I would do with my life now that I was sure that I was going to live it that I didn't see the scars on the soldiers that had been there from the beginning. They had done all this so that I could be free and without scars. They had done it for themselves, too and they would always remember how it was before the war and they would have a different appreciation for the past and the forever-changed present.
And now, at age 38, I find out that I didn't get lucky like my father did, missing out on the Vietnam War, turning 18 in the early 70s. I was gonna have to get behind that turret on that hill again. Now? I wasn't even born when the war started and they want me to get "back" in the kitchen? I've never even been in that room. My mother wasn't even in there. She was 17 in 1973. Two generations of living with a sense of liberation for women and now they try to take us back by attacking birth control availability?
Just as little girls who grew up in the 40s and 50s were pissed off and fed up about being left behind, disregarded as property of husbands and a million other things that make it really hard to be a woman, little girls who grew up in the 80s would be double-pissed off at being presented with that crap after they've lived a different life.
Little girls in the 40 and 50s were so pissed off, they grew up, joined their sisters on the battlefield and kicked ass to end all ass kicking. There were so many of them, too! They were Baby Boomers. The ideas of the young and progressive had serious impact, enough impact to change the world forever and it would never regress. Never.
So, how did we get back here? I don't know the finer strategies of how this war was fought other than history lessons and things I read in books. I don't know what to do except load my weapon and shoot indiscriminately because it's such an attack on my sensibilities, it feels as if I should claw somebody's eyes out in a trench if I had to, and I would be angry enough to do it (metaphorically speaking, of course). I would feel similarly if suddenly the laws started moving towards allowing black people to be owned by white people again. There is no fucking way that's happening. Civil War II would be swift and bloodless.
So why is the world watching this thing happen to women and seeing us have to pick up weapons and put on armor for a war that we should have won a long time ago if there was any justice in the world? Voting and deliberating and debating on our right to autonomy and reproductive control? Wow.
We've come a long way? Exactly how far? What are your thoughts about it?
I don't want to fight, I want to live my life and be left alone. But I would seriously go on a hunger strike in front of the White House if Roe v Wade was ever overturned in my lifetime. I'll do whatever they force me to do when I'm resting in my barracks during relative peace time and the mutherfuckers start shooting into my windows in the night.
Fuck that. It's on.
10:10 AM PT: Wow! I just saw the recommended tag! I published it right before getting ready for work and I had no idea it would take off like that. Thanks, everybody. I'll be back in a few hours.