I'm Pro-life: My Life
A reckoning and reclamation of our distrust in women.
Last week marked the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a landmark piece of legislation that changed the United States forever, giving us the freedom to do what’s best for our bodies and health care.
Roe v. Wade was about abortion, yes, but it was also a declaration of autonomy; a new dawning for equality; a turning point in the long-waged war against the perception of women as being, in totality, incapable. I write about this in Listening in the Dark: Women Reclaiming the Power of Intuition: from the flagrant sexism of ancient Greek mythology; to the well-documented Salem Witch Trials; to the advent of modern psychiatry, which used women as its experiments, coining gendered terms like “hysteria” to describe what might otherwise be considered basic human emotion; women were (and still are) branded volatile, unpredictable beings—emotional ticking time bombs—who shouldn't be trusted with most things, their own bodies being one of them. We’ve been conditioned to second-guess ourselves, to pit ourselves against one another, and to question everything about who we are, not what the world is. How can we trust you, history seems to ask us, if you can’t even trust yourself?
Well played, history, well played. It’s true, trusting ourselves has never been simple. This is in large part due to the sustained conditioning that has taught us to rely on our anxiety as a guide instead of listening to our intuitive intelligence—that part of our gut that just knows when something is or isn’t right. A big part of this oppression lies in the language lobbied against us, sometimes language that’s been co-opted from our very own throats. (Susan Faludi has a brilliant piece in the New York Times about how feminists got stuck in this right-wing trap, answering for a canard not of our own making.)
Our distrust of women is most often on display in politics, where women politicians become projection dart boards for all we’ve ever felt about any woman in our own lives: I hate her voice; she sounds like my school teacher! I hate her clothes; she looks like my mom!