Monday, December 12, 2011

Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, and Anti-Choice

There are people who believe in a woman's right to choose whether or not to continue with a pregnancy. There are people who believe that abortion is wrong. There are people who believe in suffering. These positions are called Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, and Anti-Choice.

Pro-Choice is simple. The Pro-choice position is that a person believes that a woman has the right to control what happens with her own body. It's simple. Pro-Choice means, ostensibly, that one would not have a problem with someone else seeking an abortion. I find this position acceptable as the logical outcome of belief that women are people.

Pro-Life is a little more complicated. People think that it means a complete opposition to abortion, but there are people who describe themselves as Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. This is a wonderfully complicated state where a person believes that in general women should have the option to choose whether or not they want to be pregnant but wouldn't have an abortion themselves. I find this position laudable.

Then there's the Anti-Choice stance, and this is the stance that activists take when they claim the title 'Pro-Life'. They're not interested in life. They're not interested in sanctity. They're interested in punishing fornicators. They claim to be about protecting the innocent, the unborn, even the mothers from the sin of committing murder, but they're not.

Would you like to know why I think that?

(Why else would you be reading this blog? Oh, wait, flames, never mind.)

Because the people who claim to be against abortion are also against any measures that science, surveys, and logic show prevent unwanted pregnancies. They're against sex education and they're against birth control. Now they'll say they're against birth control because it 'intereferes with God's plan' and they'll say they're against comprehensive sex education... well, for no good reason at all. The excuse is that they're concerned about 'corrupting children'.

So on the one hand they're against abortion, but on the other hand they're also against anything that might prevent the unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions.

Soundbites address this discrepancy. Phrases like "well, too bad" and "that's what you get" and "well, they shouldn't have been having sex" demonstrate what Anti-Choice people really want. They want to punish people. They want people to suffer the consequences of their 'sins'. It's a cruel, entitled, privileged way of viewing human relationships and reproduction that demonstrates that they have not only no sympathy, but antipathy for people who don't have the advantages that they do.

What I'm saying is that, basically, if you hold the Anti-Choice position then you're wrong. You're cruel and wrong and in serious need of education.



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Political Correctness.

Fuck it.

There, I said it. You heard me! I refuse to be politically correct! I don't take it into consideration and I hate it when it's complained about! I'm a modern man and I can decide what's offensive or not!

So who complains about it, you ask? Well, I'll tell you... feminists... no, they don't. Minorities complain.. no wait, it's not them either. Well maybe the disabled... nope, not really. Oh! A quick browse around the web reveals that the people who complain about political correctness are the people who say they won't conform to it.

Damn right! If they're being forced to conform - wait, who's trying to force them to conform if they're the only ones complaining about it?

Okay, I'm going to have to re-think this.

It seems, actually, that the people who complain about about political correctness are the people who think that they're bravely taking a stand against people who are "just looking for a reason to get offended". Alright, I'm going to have to perform a little more research.

(Pause in the blog while I read Reddit, Men's Rights pages, vicious anti-feminist pages, and the blogs of people with an abundance of privilege)

Okay, here's the thing. Resistance to political correctness seems to be espoused by people who want to use oppressive language and disregard criticism while continuing to leave their privileges unexamined. They seem to think they're being heroes, fighting against people who are trying to silence them. But the flaw in their reasoning is that, generally, no one is trying to silence them, they're overreacting to criticisms. It's a common reasoning flaw that people tend to interpret criticism as attempts at silencing. So if they're the brave heroes in this narrative, then who's the villains? Feminists, anti-racism activists, and a whole host of other progressives. The biggest mistake that anti-progressives make (because that's what the PC complainants are), is thinking that all progressives are complaining about is insensitive language and that, further, making sure that everyone speaks in a PC manner is OUR END GOAL.

So what about what I said above? That' I'm not PC and I'm not ashamed of it. Still true. However, on the other hand, I try not to use oppressive language. Not because I want to make sure to be sensitive (though I do), but because I think that using oppressive language is exclusionary and I don't want to exclude people.

And, further, I'm not perfect and I know it. I'm going to make mistakes. This is my promise. I'll consider criticisms leveled at me, examine to see if I've done something wrong, and, this is the most radical part, I'll apologize.



Monday, December 5, 2011

Sinead O'Connor and Acceptable Expressions of Femininity

I don't know if you were around or aware enough of pop culture in the early 90s to remember Sinead O'Connor. She was a very popular singer. She was a beautiful young lady from Ireland with a voice of such range and ability that she could shatter frozen hearts. She had her big break in North America with a song (that she didn't write nor had any emotional attachment to) called 'Nothing Compares 2 U'. It was a good song and she sung it very well, but she made a decision some unknown time before filming the video that has cemented her in the public consciousness – she shaved her head.

Much of the video was a close-up shot of her singing into the camera, and so her near-baldness couldn't be ignored. This had two effects – on the one hand, the song had the potential to sling-shot her into superstardom, but the look was immediately latched on to and she became an object of derision, scorn, and mockery.

Then she brought her politics into things. She refused to perform on Saturday Night Live because Andrew Dice Clay was hosting. She refused to attend the Grammy awards in spite of the fact that she was nominated in four categories because she said they were a corrupt organization. She made some statements that were interpreted as supporting Saddam Hussein. Finally, the piece-de-resistance, on a performance on Saturday Night Live (sans Mr. Clay) she tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II, declaring him to be the enemy. The backlash was hard enough that her North American career was finished.

These political actions are remembered clearly by music fans and pop culture historians. There's some controversy about her intentions and mental stability. Did she deliberately attempt to destroy her career? Maybe. I happen to agree with her on several points. I wouldn't set foot on the same stage as Andrew Dice Clay, that misogynist prick. I think the Catholic church has been responsible for a great deal of harm around the globe in between cultural colonization, institutional racism, rape-enabling, not to mention the crusades and the inquisitions, and Pope John Paul II in particular, living in the age of AIDS as he does, promoted the idea that it would be better to spread the disease like a plague than it would be to use condoms and so put a stop to the possibility of a child being conceived.

But what do we remember most about Sinead O'Connor? That she shaved her head. We still make jokes about it to this day. Whenever we see a bald lady or even a bald man, we make a Sinead O'Connor joke. We could easily make a Brittney Spears joke, but I think we accept that she shaved her head as part of kind of a breakdown whereas we clearly thought and continue to think that O'Connor shaved her head with a sound mind.

Why does this stick in our collective craw? I don't really know, but I do think the staying power of the image is reflective of our discomfort with women acting outside their expected behaviours. Have you seen a picture of her lately? My partner bought one of her newer CDs back in 2003 and she let her hair grow back in. Time passes, you know. She's moved on but we still make jokes. But it was so jarring to our early 90s sensibilities that we just can't let it go. I guess it's a good example of how 'well-behaved women rarely make history' if only it were for something more notable. I guess her level of femininity wasn't good enough for us then and continues to fail to live up to our standards.