Whoever Declared March as Women’s Month, I Wonder

“You asked me to explain myself. I just wonder what needs to be explained. Let me be very clear. Look into your own heart. I swear to you, mine’s no different. You want a place in the trades and professions where you can earn your bread? So do I. You want some means of self expression? Some way of satisfying your own personal ambitions? So do I. You want a voice in the government in which you live? So do I. What is there to explain?”

(Quoted from the movie, Iron Jawed Angels; spoken by Hilary Swank who played the role of militant suffragette, Alice Paul.)

A scene from the 2004 movie starring Hilary Swank. Image from proyouththpages.com

A scene from the 2004 movie starring Hilary Swank. Image from proyouththpages.com

***

The thing is … Alice Paul, many would disagree with you; and debate that there is much difference between the hearts and souls of men and women. For example, the fact that Ms. Universe 1994 Ms. Sushmita Sen was asked the inane question: “What is the essence of being a woman?” illustrates this fact. Nobody would dare to ask a man: “What is the essence of being a man?” ¬†with the express intention of expecting the guy to answer that his main purpose in life is to produce and take care of the next generation of human beings.

Alice Paul, 1885-1977, a militant feminist in the tradition of Andrea Dworkin. She got imprisoned numerous times and worked her ass off so that women in her country could get the vote. I think she was kinda pretty, almost as pretty as Justin Trudeau. The difference between Justin and Alice is that Justin has Sophie; while Alice's lovelife was so private we do not even know about it.

Alice Paul, 1885-1977, a militant feminist in the tradition of Andrea Dworkin. She got imprisoned numerous times and worked her ass off so that women in her country could get the vote. I think she was kinda pretty, almost as pretty as Justin Trudeau. The difference between Justin and Alice is that Justin has Sophie; while Alice’s lovelife was so private we do not even know about it. Image from biography.com.

I suddenly remember you, Alice, because last March 8 was Women’s Day and I think just this week, we were celebrating Mother’s Day.

I do not want to malign motherhood, Alice — an institution without which, I wouldn’t exist. But the thing is, people have ennobled being a mother to such an extent that not being one or not wanting to be one raises the spectre of “aberration” towards someone.

I am sure a lot of our sisters are ambivalent about motherhood — even those who are mothers themselves. Of course they would never dare to tell their children (or even other people) of this ambivalence; that would be like taboo or sacrilege.

I wonder if there will ever be a time when fatherhood is also elevated in the same pantheon of “nobility” as motherhood. When a guy can be asked: “What is the essence of being a man?” and for us to expect him to answer that being a man is all about being a father.

That is when I will truly believe that the struggle of feminism has succeeded.

***

Justin and Barry -- my favorite feminists. It doesn't hurt that they also look good enough to eat. Image from news.yahoo.com

Justin and Barry — my favorite feminists. It doesn’t hurt that they also look good enough to eat. Image from news.yahoo.com

And because it is Women’s Month, I would like to have the privilege to objectify men.

Hence …

What can girls love more than guys who just scream “eye candy” — like Justin and Barry over here. Some have speculated on the budding bromance between these two world leaders ūüėČ

***

Reading Lists:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/10/the-budding-bromance-between-president-obama-and-canadas-justin-trudeau-in-11-great-pictures/?tid=sm_fb

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2016/03/heartbreak-dating-exhausted-medical-resident.html

http://www.vox.com/2014/12/15/7371737/rape-culture-definition

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/13/9523879/playboy-nudity-no

http://www.vox.com/2016/2/4/10877038/hitchhiking-woman-dangerous

Female Genital Mutilation More Widespread Than Previously Thought, UNICEF Says

 

Advertisements

Thirty-five

Germaine Greer, that controversial ’70’s feminist who wouldn’t give up, even now that she is in her 70’s, once said:

“The point of an organic family is to release the children from the disadvantages of being extensions of their parents so that they can belong primarily to themselves.”

Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch, 1970

If I can find a copy of this is Booksale, it will go right to my TBR pile.

If I can find a copy of this is Booksale, it will go right to my TBR pile.

Miz Greer, much as I would like to agree, in principle, with your thesis, putting your point into practice would prick parents at their thorniest. Children, you see, are the emotional properties of their parents. And our parents have never; and will never (unless they are dead) let us forget that.

Mothers are the worst. Especially if you are a daughter. I cannot speak for the sons, but if they are there somewhere, I am sure they also have their gripes.

One’s mother almost died giving birth to you; so you owe her. For life.

Wait-just-a-fucking-minute!! I did not wish to be born … I was not exactly consulted if I wanted¬† to be brought into existence. So excuse me … if I resent your demands for my gratefulness. For this supposedly blessed gift called Life.

***

For a woman turning 35 (one score plus one-and-a-half decade) years old, a milestone has been reached. In medical parlance, she has arrived at a quandary called, “elderly primipara/primigravida”.

The term “elderly primipara/primigravida” was invented, once upon a time, when obstetrics was populated by white-men-in-white-uniform. I think that its insertion into the lexicon of obstetrics residents was partly a warning sign to girls — get a man and have a baby before 35 or you will die.

Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain. A writer who died penniless. Just another chap who may just  be my role model.

Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain. A writer who died penniless. Just another chap who may just be my role model.

In truth, and statistics will show (Mark Twain did say that there are lies, more lies, and statistics) that a lot of morbidities occur in women who gestate after 35. To wit: gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, gestational trophoblastic diseases, gestational hypertension, etc, etc.

I have come to believe that girls get knocked up in their teens because they were stupid; in their twenties because of peer pressure; and give in to maternal instincts in their 30’s because they fear death.

So Miz Greer …¬† a child is an extension of their parents. Your thesis is a fantasy. A wonderful fantasy, like The Lord of The Rings is wonderful, but a fantasy nonetheless.

But I love you, anyway ūüôā

Genetic Progenies

The thing about living things is that reproduction for them is a biological imperative. Like take the virus, for example — its main reason for being is to produce another virus and then another and another; until it is just swimming in a sea, an ocean of its copies.

FYI, humans are not viruses. Although we are mammals (and the creationists would probably disagree), we have developed this thing called “culture” and we have (supposedly) this trait called “rational thought” ; so that our actions are governed by them and not by instincts alone. We act after an intelligent discernment of our condition and surroundings — ideally.

So genetic progenies are not necessarily bad, if they are already there. Like, kicking and screaming and demanding for milk or attention. If they are still zygotes … well their right to “live” is probably debatable. I think that the right of a living, breathing, thinking, woman should take precedence over a zygote’s … but that’s just me.

It is terribly insulting and very sexist to ask a woman why she doesn’t have a child; men are never asked that question (thank you Zooey Deschanel for that wonderful idea!).

There may be something racist and classist in perceiving minority women or poor women as irresponsible¬† sluts for having kids like rabbits. However … I have met some of these women … and they can sound very irresponsible. I lay the blame on their parents though, for not bringing them up well and not giving them a good education. Parents can so fuck up their children’s lives — especially when/if those children become parents themselves. Talk about a cycle of irresponsibility.

There is a whole world of reason why women (hey men are part of this too, or aren’t they?) have or do not have genetic progenies. Sometimes, there may not even be a reason. It (the pregnancy) just happened.

Like a thunderstorm or an earthquake.

I was interviewing a pregnant patient, and I was counseling her on family planning. She tells me that after this child, she does not want another. So I suggest, that she and her husband should decide on a family planning method. I drone on and on about the methods that are available. And this morning, the woman gave birth, and I offered her the family planning method that is currently available in the clinic which is IUD. The woman refused; said that she will just take the pill. I do not believe her. This is her fifth child by husband number 4 and I have this niggling feeling that she keeps having children to have a hold over the men she has relationships with.

I am saying this from the point of view of the child, who was not asked to be born: Hey parents, it is not your right to have kids. If you cannot bring us up in a manner that will not make us a nuisance to society, then do not have us at all. Underpopulation is currently not a world problem. And hey, it should be okay to have sex … I mean what hypocrisy is it that you tell a 15 year old child to preserve her virginity when sex is so much fun that you “accidentally” had me when you were young.

Fuck.

 

***

Reading Lists:

http://mic.com/articles/112910/12-women-who-had-the-best-response-to-society-s-biggest-expectation

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/08/25-famous-women-on-childlessness.html

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/kids

http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/03/when-men-want-kids-and-women-arent-so-sure.html

http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/gender-issues/83453-early-pregnancy-philippines?utm_content=buffere26f1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/10-differences-between-middle-class-and-rich-people.html

Necessary Fictions

Ana met up with Carrie after the conference. This was one of those seminars that people in Ana’s profession go to out of obligation. In her case, Ana felt obligated to attend because Carrie, who is a dear friend, already paid for her registration.

 

Ana started reading Mills and Boon before puberty. So maybe that's why she is R-rated and Carrie is PG. Mills and Boon are the precursors of Fifty Shades of Grey, with better editing.

Ana started reading Mills and Boon before puberty. So maybe that’s why she is R-rated and Carrie is PG. Mills and Boon are the precursors of Fifty Shades of Grey, with better editing. They sold to women who wanted to have fun. People cannot seem to understand this. Sex+love=romance and romance sells because it’s fun. Atrocious editing, bad narrative structure and seemingly shallow characterizations are (sometimes, though not all the time) superfluous. A roller coaster does not need to be blue for one to feel adrenaline rush while riding it. An orgasm is an orgasm whether one has had¬† it with a dildo or with something else. Picture from bankstownnorthps.com.au

 

Once upon a time, Ana and Carrie worked in the trenches together. They were excellent soldiers — obedient with just the right amount of cynicism; they could look at blood and gore with clinical detachment; they could sublimate their fear, disgust and depression, until a more appropriate time (however long that takes). They could have been made into generals. Ana actually rose to captain but she found that she¬† hated soldiering and was in it only for the money. For these girls (or women), Carrie and Ana, their passive-aggressiveness is an effective antibiotic to future success.

Now Ana¬† is thinking: there is something about being in a war-zone (which is basically what their previous job was all about) that draw people closer. If I had been more determined, and gave in to my Inner Goddess and quit while I was still¬† relatively sane, Carrie would not have been my friend. I would not be sitting here now, drinking mojito and commiserating about our husband’s infrequent erections.

Carrie: I think something happened after I gave birth. That fourth degree laceration really took something out of my sex life. Maybe it’s the lubrication or something.

Ana: I miss it when we were in our twenties and would have sex every other day. Half the time I was asleep, which is a bummer now that I look back on it. Men’s interest really go down with age.

Carrie: I love our daughter and I think I don’t mind not having sex with Ian at all.

Ana: Really!? You mean that?

Carrie: Ana, of course I’m lying! But I can’t help thinking that he doesn’t really love me. That he just married me because I got pregnant?

Ana: Oh please! Are we going back to this storyline? Harlequin, Loveswept, Silhouette, even Mills and Boon novels are teeming with the accidental-pregnancy-plot-that-leads-to-marriage — haven’t you learned anything by now?

(Carrie’s face is blank so Ana would have to spell it out for her)

Ana: Ian loves you, get that through your thick head. It’s not as if you pointed a gun at him and made him marry you.

Carrie: For men, isn’t an accidental gestation just like pointing a gun to their¬† heads?

Ana: (Silent. How would she know? She had never been pregnant.) Tell me again how your daughter was an accident?

Carrie: I forgot to take my pill.

Ana: Wow, that’s stupid.

Carrie: Thank you, Ana. That is very insightful.

Ana: Well if you will do it all over again, I’m sure that that you will not prefer not having had your daughter. I mean, Arielle is cute and smart and she will probably be your last chance at genetic mortality because, and I quote, women’s chance at conception drastically go down at 39 even with IVF. Hey look, you should have another kid, otherwise, you will smother this one.

Carrie: I am on DMPA.

Ana: Wow, is that so. Well you’re 38, you should probably give yourself a deadline. Don’t be like me. I am still not passionate about progenies and I’m only 3 years younger than you.

Carrie: Having a child is difficult. A real drain on the finances, and on your energy. You want to give her the best. And it’s depressing when you realize you can’t.

Ana: I am so glad you said that. I am tired of these women, and even men, who keep yammering on like having a kid is the Holy Grail.

Carrie: Of course they will say that Ana. It’s a necessary fiction.

 

***

Review of the week: Fifty Shades of Grey

“we should not begrudge E. L. James her triumph, for she has, in her lumbering fashion, tapped into a truth that often eludes more elegant writers‚ÄĒthat eternal disappointment, deep in the human heart, at the failure of our loved ones to acquire their own helipad.”

 

fifty-shades-grey-men

 

 

 

Treading Water

So today Ana was telling me of her ambivalence about having babies:

I have always been envious of good swimmers.¬† As someone who has been taught how to swim a number of times and has failed over and over and over again to learn, seeing someone do a breaststroke from one end of a pool to the other is kind of bittersweet. Me — I can barely keep my head above water.

What is the connection? I ask

 

tumblr_majl6hAKhh1rece9vo1_500

The problem is, Ana says, I am content having just my feet wet. I can’t go into the deep end (the one that says 6 feet) because 1.) I am afraid to drown; 2.) There doesn’t seem to be anything worthwhile about going into 6 feet; and 3.) I prefer reading my Kindle in the pool and it’s not easy to do that while trying not to drown.

 

Having a child is like driving a car or learning to swim. You have to have done it at a certain point, otherwise the energy or the desire to have one or learn one passes you by.

A lot of people in and out of cyberspace will disagree with you.

So maybe I am speaking only of myself. The inclination has passed me by. Although when I look back, I don’t think I have ever been very inclined to reproduce. When¬†I¬†think of babies or parenting,¬†the impression I get is that of having a thankless job that you are doomed to do the rest of your life. Which makes it totally not worth it.¬†

The thing is, darling,  Christian wants to have a kid.

Yes, but it is not as if he’s pressuring me about it. As with all other things, he has a laid back attitude as far as progeny is concerned.

Or so you think.

Well, yes, there’s that.

So you think having kids is like swimming right? And now, you are what? Treading water?

Hmmm … more like wading in a knee deep pond that used to be a river.