Thursday, March 08, 2012

International Women's Day, 2012

In getting used to the idea that women's rights to control their own bodies, including the right to have abortions, would remain a social battleground, I can't say I ever really expected the field of battle would actually shift backwards. But so it has done, and now it seems that even women's right to contraception is under attack. At the extreme end may be the putrid neanderthal spokesasshole Rush Limbaugh and his verbal assault on Ms. Susan Fluke, suggesting she was a "slut and prostitute" and out to get the government to support her licentious lifestyle, but at the other end are all manner of politicians including both Republicans and Democrats who think that it's high time that society controls women's genital organs. Apparently the small government types have problems with regulation of pollution and corruption but no problem at all with regulation of women's bodies. That they yearn for a time when women were nothing but baby machines says so much about their general worldviews.

I counter this 1950s style assault on women with a classic propaganda image from the other 1950s, the era of Soviet/Chinese solidarity against the American-led Cold War. Against a field of multilingual banners labelled "Peace," a Chinese and Russian woman gaze determinedly and resolutely against all odds. One boldly grasps a red banner, and yet almost tenderly they grasp hands between them. While certainly representing a different shade of stereotype, these women know that even peace is something that might require a battle to defend. And there remains so very very much to defend.

Happy International Working Women's Day. Stand shoulder to shoulder with your sisters.

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