Sunday, February 13, 2011
Culture Crusaders, my Body is not Your Battlefield.
My body is the only thing I came into this world with. I was born with it, and I will live in it until I die. It's the one thing I can say is truly mine. My parents and my marriages and my on-line presence have left me with different names and handles, but if you're looking for me--the definitive location of me, myself, and I--you're looking for the person of one Vixen Strangely, residing in a particular body.
I have skin and hair and organs. They are unique to me. My piercings and my tattoos and my scars and all the other identifying marks are about experiences unique to me. You can see them, but you can't share the path I was on when I got them, because they are mine. My hair color is mine, however many times I may have chosen to alter it. My size is mine, and I embrace it, because this is the only body I have. I may chose to be more fit through a variety of efforts, or see what genetics and entropy give me. I may elect to correct for some aesthetic ideal through chemicals or surgery. But my body is mine. And so are its parts. My eyes. My ears. My tongue. My fingers, that type on a keyboard for the benefit of a handful of readers. My body, the house of my life and experiences. My stretch marks, my freckles. My fat. My genitals. My sex with those genitals--that is my business. Not your battlefield. Mine.
You can mind your own business, and I will not mind it for you. You eat what you want, drink what you want, mutually and consentually experience sex with who you want. It is your body, your life and your business to do so, and you may chose all those things. I respect your body. Your side of the bargain is respecting mine. Respect my business. You may capitalize or make hay out of what your choices are--but I will not have you capitalizing on mine. My body is not your battle field.
My uterus is mine. It is located in my body. Mine. You might already acknowledge that government has no place telling me what to feed my body with, what I should drink, and if your mind is broad enough, you may have no opinion about who I make love with using this one body I have, in the lifespan I'll enjoy. So I want you to understand, that if my uterus experiences a pregnancy--that pregnancy is mine. My pregnant uterus effecting my life. Not your life, or your uterus, or your pregnancy. It is mine.
That's my missed period. That is my financial situation. That's my age. That is my relationship with the donor of the sperm that joined with the egg my body produced. It will be my physical changes, that effect the one body I have. My addictions, my mental health, my physical health, my mobility, my ability to consider myself separately from the individual who impregnated me, the pregnancy within me, and the world I need to negotiate to keep food in my stomach and a roof over my head. You can't know all of these things. These things are mine. Not yours. That is why I should chose--not you, whether I can seek the best possible care for my body. I seek it out. I chose to. Because I want what is best for me. And you don't know me.
And you make up things about what I will experience, think I am stupid, and demean and harass me and people like me all the time to protect your idea of "life" or "babies"--ignoring that I am alive. I was someone's baby. I have lived and experienced many things, good, bad, weird, and so on. The small, decidedly human, and undoubtedly living, fetus inside me would be....inside my uterus, which is mine. Effecting my body, which is mine. I know fetuses are developing babies. I am not stupid. It may have a beating heart. A sonogram of it may reveal the image of human body parts. Little fingers, little toes. A skull. A nose. Eyes. And I might even ponder what my pregnancy might lead to if I chose to carry it to term. A poet. An athlete. A scientist. I'm human, with human experiences just like yours, and I have held babies and smelled their talcum-fresh bodies and smiled at their developing awareness. I am not anti-baby.
I'm pro-life. My life, in the one body I have, that might develop gestational diabetes or heart problems, mood swings, that might have a complication from a pregnancy that ends the one life I have. You may consider that selfish--but I would say--who are you to ask me not to concern myself, with my self? I have to look out for my life and my obligations, which may be familial or economic, which may be towards my education, or towards my career. It's my choice about what I do with my body. Not yours.
And what of my pregnancy? I can't tell you about who he or she would be, because he or she wasn't, just like many XY and XX chromosomed zygotes aren't, which leave the body through natural means before viability. It isn't your battlefield. My pregnancy, in my body, isn't your choice. I am a female-bodied human life, and I want you to recognize me as a person. You may not agree with what I do with my body, but you must understand--it is mine.
And my health, the health of my body, the health of the children I chose to have, are my concern. So if you wish to consider yourself pro-life--tell me this:
Do you support my access, and that of my children, to water that is healthful to drink? Do I have a right to demand my government ensure that with the tax money they get from me?
Do you support my access, and that of my children, to food that is healthful to eat? Do I have a right to demand my government ensure that with the tax money they get from me?
Do you support my access, and that of my children, to air that is healthful to breathe? Do I and my children and their generations to follow, have a right to a clean, safe planet?
Do you support my right, and that of my children, to health care, so that we can enjoy the lives we have as relatively free from pain, illness, and calamity as we can manage, without suffering penury? Do you support my right to work--for a wage that enables me to care for the children I chose to have? Do you support the education of those children? Do you believe that if children truly are a precious resource, we should invest in them, keep them safe, give them the greatest access to do the most with the one life and the one body they have?
If you can say no to all that--then screw off, you are just a theocrat who wants to plant a flag in my uterus. And my body is not your battlefield.