Millennials over 30 and Xennials are old enough to remember “Married With Children.” It was about a family of four lead by a generally unhappy shoe salesman, his stay-at-home wife, and their two teen children. It was funny. One of the things that made it funny was their daughter, “Kelly,” who was so airheaded that even her attempts at seriousness failed spectacularly.
Recently, after Georgia’s governor signed an abortion ban bill that outlaws abortion once a heartbeat is detected, Alyssa Milano of “Who’s The Boss” fame (if you’re under 30, you’ll probably have to Google that), came out and suggested that women withhold sex from their partners until the bill is reversed. The presumption is that she was talking about straight women since many of these lawmakers are men.
Earlier today, after I posted a brief schpill about women in relationships on my personal Facebook page, I had someone, a white woman, suggest that women should just become lesbians or celibate and “rid” men out of our lives. When I noted that all of us aren’t lesbians, nor are we interested in it, and expressed that I have no desire to be celibate, she told me to continue to “suffer.” She then went into a rant about how she gets sick of straight women complaining about men while continuing to deal with them.
Other acts used to “empower” women and “promote equality” for women include the “free bleeding movement” where women don’t use any menstrual products and just bleed through their clothes as an act of showing that women should have the “right” to menstruate (cause if we didn’t, our uterine lining would stop shedding, I guess). Kiran Gandhi ran a marathon with blood dripping down her leg in solidarity with the millions of women who do not have regular access to menstrual products and to show that there’s no shame in menstruation.
Let’s not forget the various “free the nipple” style campaigns because nothing gives men a kick in the balls and says, “fuck the patriarchy” like women walking around showing their titties to every rando on the street who passes them.
Then, there’s this picture…
This woman is apparently a yoga instructor who thought this photo of her “free bleeding” while her kids’ heads were in the line of fire was a deep statement on womanhood and the importance of the menstrual cycle. You can read her comments on the matter HERE.
This was the picture that led me to the conclusion that white women don’t have enough to do. While they’d like to think they are fighting the patriarchy by bleeding on couches and breastfeeding while doing a cartwheel at 11 am on a Tuesday, all they are doing is demonstrating how detached from feminism, let alone reality they are; especially the intersectional kind.
Patriarchy is not going to stop women from menstruating. That’s nature. A woman’s shame or lack thereof, at least in the west, is her issue. But what patriarchy, in its various forms and mutations, does do is ensure that white women only make 60% of what white men make and that Black women make even less. It ensures that rapists walk. It ensures that we spend time arguing about a domestic abuser registry instead of just establishing one. Refusing to wear a pad, tampon, or menstrual cup is not going to address standard nor racialized sexism.
Not having sex with your male partner is not going to address the underbelly of misogyny and (to be quite honest) racism that is the true basis of all of these restrictive abortion laws.
Deciding to just become or pretending to be a lesbian is not going to even start to address the violence perpetrated by men upon women.
Instead of “freeing” the menstrual cycle (which doesn’t need to be freed because it’s going to come anyway unless you’ve surgically removed your uterus, have gone through menopause, are on certain hormonal birth control that stops it, or have an endocrine issue), I’d rather free people.
Instead of “freeing the nipple,” I’d rather hear about ideas that will actually bring substantial systemic change in areas that matter like employment and healthcare.
While white women are baking vagina cupcakes, Black women and other women of color are working, struggling, fighting structural “–isms”, fighting intra-community violence against us, and trying to survive.
It’s time for Rebecca to actually participate in a substantive way, or go sit down and shut up.
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