Scene4 Magazine: La Femme La Mujer La Donna with Lia Beachy
Scene4 Magazine-inSight

April 2010

with Lia Beachy

The Sum of Her Parts

"In a society where the rights and potential of women are constrained, no man can be truly free. He may have power, but he will not have freedom."
~Mary Robinson

"The vote means nothing to women. We should be armed.
~Edna O'Brien

It began with the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Then the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And finally the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.  

Health care mandated for American citizens, with no public option, being billed as affordable. That's how we roll in the United States of Irony.

And once again abortion was thrown into the ring as a political bargaining chip. Pro-life senators demanding that federal tax dollars will never be used for abortions but not seeming to mind if those same tax dollars help subsidize pills that keep penises erect. Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas yelled out that the new health care bill was a "baby killer" but he does not oppose the Death Penalty. House of Hypocrites. So a woman's womb, a woman's right to choose what she does with her own body, is up for debate. And while the majority of women on this planet truly don't have freedom and choice, American women in 2010 may have no one to blame but ourselves.

We have a right to vote, to assemble and petition, to own property, to work, to be educated and to speak our minds and yet we still haven't taken control of our social standing. Everything about a woman is up for deliberation. How she looks, how she thinks, how she feels, how she does just about anything. And we allow it to happen.  

Why do we, as women, continue to permit men to dictate, mandate, legislate and debate what we do? The discussion is always open about whether we are fat or thin, young or old, beautiful or ugly, hot and fuckable or cold and untouchable. Women are imprisoned under the social microscope. Misogyny is the warden.

Why do we conform to the fashion and beauty industries? Why do we tolerate the message that beauty equals youth and curves should be starved away into a Size nothing? Our cellulite, our stretch marks, our smallest imperfections are turned against us so we can consume. Consume another cream, lotion, gel, scrub, chemical peel, Botox shot, facelift, nose lift, breast implant, magic elixir-fix-all that will make us better because we are not good enough just the way we are.

Why do we endure our breasts being ogled and vilified and tortured? Every form of entertainment markets cleavage but a woman breastfeeding in public incites outrage and disgust. Janet Jackson's now infamous breast flash during a Superbowl broadcast was labeled indecent and garnered fines for CBS by the FCC, but battle scenes and crime sites and autopsies are commonplace. The Mammogram is the leading exam to check a woman's breast for early stages of breast cancer. It not only detects poorly in dense breast tissue, it also hurts like hell. If men had to suffer through having their scrotum sacs squeezed between two cold metal plates, the great minds in the medical and research community would have found another test in a New York minute, no matter what the cost.

Why do our artists, our athletes and our leaders get more attention and more coverage if they are cast as angry man-hating bitches, smoldering sex kittens or the Mother Teresa? We consent to labels. We too cast other women into the roles of long-suffering wife or home-wrecking mistress, PMS-ing psycho or pathetic doormat. It's not enough to simply be a woman minus the adjective. It's not enough to simply be.

Why is emotional awareness and intuition looked upon as trivial? Crying and compassion are signs of weakness and yet armed conflicts are shows of strength? An angry woman is a hysterical woman. An angry man is righteous. Men have been engaging in armed conflicts since the beginning of civilization. Fighting over the same shit, different century. No resolution in sight and yet women still haven't said enough is enough.

The sum of our parts is objectified and the vagina, the gateway to heaven, is objected to the most. Sex, rape, birth... anything that relates to our vagina has stigma attached to it. Whatever happens "down there" is our fault and our business and shouldn't be discussed in public. But once the real estate down there starts building, men try to control it. A man's sperm is his own, but every zygote belongs to the world. The womb becomes sacred and the woman who owns it becomes secondary.

Most women know, either personally or through a mother, sister or friend, what it means to be pregnant. And along with that can come birth or miscarriage or abortion.  Sometimes it's a deliberate choice. Sometimes the choice is made by accident. Sometimes it's an easy and joyous choice. Sometimes it's a hard and sad choice. But the word is choice. The concept is choice. The path to freedom and the pursuit of happiness is choice.

A woman chooses because it's her menstrual cycle, her uterus, her body. A woman chooses because it's her body that is pumped with hormones and changes and transforms for 9 months and gives birth. A woman chooses because it's her body that is pumped with hormones and expels the contents of her uterus after a few weeks or months and doesn't give birth. And whatever a woman chooses, if she regrets her choice later, that's her burden to bear because it's HER choice.  

Because until all men put their beings up for constant scrutiny... Until all men understand the complexities of the female body... Until all men fully take on responsibility and culpability for pregnancies that are either terminated or go the distance... And until human beings actually come up with a viable and applicable form of population control so that maybe one day all pregnancy is planned, men should not have the final word on reproduction.  

It's not logical that the people making the laws for women, are not women. And American women are in a unique position to start the revolution. We can end the debate. We can take complete control over our bodies and our minds and our hearts. We have the freedom to do it, the only thing stopping us is ourselves.


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©2010 Lia Beachy
©2010 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Lia Beachy is a writer and a Senior Writer and Columnist for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives


Scene4 Magazine - Arts and Media

April 2010

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