Playing Politics With Women's Rights Makes Me Nervous About Having a Daughter

When you're a mom of two boys pregnant with a third child whose gender is a mystery you get really used to people hoping/cheering/praying/keeping their fingers crossed that you'll have a girl. I get it. People have good intentions, but I also find it annoying. Honestly, I'm not losing sleep over whether I'll have a girl and I really don't care about the baby's gender. There are many, many reasons I'm fine with having another boy. I won't go into all of them, but I was reminded of one while reading The Bloodletter's Daughter by Linda Lafferty: We live in a dangerous world for young girls.

Much smarter and eloquent people than me have written about the ways young girls and women are objectified. We see if every day, I don't have to go over all the details. But, what scares me most is how in 2012 we seem to be taking massive steps back for women in this country. In the last few months our rights to birth control, reproduction, abortion, health care access, domestic violence protection, workplace rights, and equal pay have been used as pawns in political campaigns. And all of this really scares me.

I have faith that we have enough smart people in this country to make sure we don't go much further down this road, but we're kidding ourselves if we pretend that women are sitting pretty. This NewYork Times article does a nice job of laying out some basic examples... examples that I have a feeling the vast majority of women have no idea are real.

Beyond all of this what infuriates me the most is the fact that women are even being used in this regard. This is 2012, not 1960. I studied women's studies in college and I haven't felt like this subject has been as present in my mind since. These aren't women's issues. These are all of our issues. Women's health, equality, and rights affect men and children as much as they do women. If poor women don't have access to cancer screening at Planned Parenthood what becomes of the family members who will have to care for them and may be left behind? It's that simple.

I want to be sure I am the most empowered, healthy, productive woman I can be, which will make me the best mom possible. Most of all I want to know that if I bring a daughter into this world her rights and choices will be guaranteed, not threatened for political gain.

Inspired by a real-life murder that threatened to topple the powerful Hapsburg dynasty in the 17th century, The Bloodletter's Daughter imagines how one young woman holds more power than she thought possible. Join From Left to Write on September 25 as we discuss the The Bloodletter's Daughter. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


melanie said...

It has been interesting to listen to my girls' observations about life and topics and see how their assumptions and perspective about women and women's issues are so much more advanced even than mine were at this age. In spite of what is going on nationally, I am impressed and amazed at my own girls' views about gender equality, etc.

Amy said...

Great post! My 3rd child is a girl, and I am so much more nervous about raising her and keeping her safe in this world! But it is also a joy to have her, Good luck to you!!!

Linda Lafferty said...

All of my books seem to have a strong woman protagonist. It is so important to show girls at an early age that they can be powerful. And you are right--it remains a dangerous world for women,despite our advances.