04 February 2010

It's Women's Bodies, not Babies

The Raging Grannies' video about CBS's decision to run the FotF ad is a wonderful image of strong, older women speaking truth to power.

The response to it, however, is appalling, with comments that don't merely drag up the same old arguments about how loose women who sleep around deserve the punishment of pregnancy -- instead, the comments focus on the bodies of the women in the video, calling them "skuzzbags" and remarking acidly that "no would would sleep with them anyway."

This simply underscores how much the discourse about abortion is emphatically not about saving babies, but is instead about women's bodies, and the investment that the patriarchy, the state, and the church have in controlling women's bodies.

In this dialogue, a woman's body is only acceptable when it is attractive to and available for men who can impose their own laws (secular or religious laws) upon its use. The Raging Grannies cannot be objectified comfortably, hence they are not sexually attractive and available, and instead of responding to their video by arguing passionately for the sanctity of life (meaning life, including the lives of Arab and Muslim children killed by US bombs) the comments are full of invective against the real issue that the video addresses:

Who controls the representation, the use, and the function of the female body? Women themselves, in all their variety, at all ages, and with complete self-determination? God forbid! These audacious crones must be attacked viciously for daring to defy the culture that requires women to be both silent and young/sexually available/attractive.

Oh, and one YouTube member has been posting at regular 6-minute intervals the observation that the South Florida Grannies all have Jewish last names. Thanks, sexist anti-semitic d00d. Great argument there.

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