The Widdershins

Archive for March 17th, 2012

The reason that the study of history is so important is that it offers us the opportunity to understand and judge the accuracy of who we are and what we have achieved through the generations.

Each succeeding civilization was able to build upon the advancements of the one that came before.  Women throughout history have contributed as much for its progression as its men.

The pioneer women who agreed to accompany their men into the wilderness have long been forgotten.  Few monuments stand praising their efforts and sacrifice.  They ventured out into the unknown where small comforts awaited them.  They worked alongside their men, building, planting, and birthing their babies against odds that today would leave most of us in awe. Where would we be had they not?

These women had little value outside of what their blood, sweat, and tears could produce.  Unable to own much beyond what their spouse deemed appropriate, it would take several generations before they were allowed the right to vote, own property, hold public office.  A woman desiring further education had to fight for a place in the classroom.  Her marriage vows replete with the word “obey” was solely written for the benefit of her spouse.  Divorce was almost unheard of and she risked losing her children and reputation should she seek to end her marriage.  A divorced woman was considered a “blight” on her community.  She faced expulsion from her church.  A woman’s “place” up until only a few decades ago was completely in the hands of her spouse.

But things began to change when women were granted the right to vote.  Family planning clinics began to emerge and women doctors became less than a “novelty”.  Women went to war. They began to seek the higher education that had once been closed to them. They went out into the workplace, utilized their earning power, displayed their intelligence with a sense of confidence that was its own reward.

The Pill brought more freedom to explore the outside world.  Women were no longer chained to being just homemakers.  They were able to plan the number of children they would bear – or not if that was their choice – and their longevity increased as a result. They embraced their sexuality and replaced repression with pleasure.

What was once decided law has now become a political and religious football in a century that has seen the conquering of space, the innovation of life saving drugs, the advance in technology that promises cures for once deadly diagnoses, and saw the elevation of women into positions of power that a mere 100 years ago was just a fantasy.

But that freedom is very much in jeopardy.  Laws are being passed across this nation that would send women back into the “domestic slavery” that had once been their lot in life.  Laws that would place their healthcare needs at the hands of men focused on that word “obey”. 

 Her sexuality has been deemed “sinful, dirty, irresponsible” unless it is accomplished through procreation and only through the confines of marriage.  The very same laws that place the women in Afghanistan under Sharia Law has now found its way to the shores of the United States of America in the year 2012.

There is very little difference when you peel the intent down to its core. Aside from the stoning and beheadings that await a women from that culture should she “step out of line”, the same harsh treatment awaits an American woman who does the same.  Punishment by force if necessary to “keep her in her place”.  Denying a woman medical treatment is the surest example of these horrific laws that sweep across the nation that was built with the assistance of women who sacrificed so much.

Why now?  After decades of settled law, the strides that were made to equalize women and their rightful place in society is slowly being stripped by forces led by hatred and ignorance and the fear of a gender that has been the helpmate, the giver of life, the heart and soul of most families who would agree with that representation.

What is wrong with these people? I wish I knew. How long can this scourge be maintained is another question for it will take women – and men themselves – to overcome this bias and discrimination that need not be.  It’s hateful, unreasonable, and offers a taste of fascism that is invading the very marrow of our society.

I question if we will be able to exert the strength to overcome the lack of reason behind these laws.  The task appears overwhelming.  The exhaustion of having to “live to fight another day” is daunting in the face of this onslaught.

My instinct tells me that the right to privacy and self determination will be taken away by the SC.   It is not so much a stretch any longer to see dark days looming for women which will be another date when history will be describing who we really were in the first half of the 21st century when progress came to a grinding halt.

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