A Woman Is More Than The Contents Of Her Uterus
by S.L. Weitmare
Since childhood I’ve been told how great motherhood is and been urged to have children of my own. I’ve been bombarded (as many of us have) with images of women in kitchens with a baby nearby. Of course, these women are always smiling as they wear their skirts, aprons, and, of course, high heels (because you have to stay pretty if you are going to have babies). June Cleaver was iconic for so many women. After the 80s, the message changed slightly from women in the kitchen to women taking the kids to soccer. Only recently have we seen images of women working outside the home and being in well paid jobs (lawyers, president, detectives). But the issue is deeper than just media imagery.
Women are pressured by their families and friends to have babies, as if their lives/marriages will not be successful or complete until they do. That’s not all though, I can tell you from personal experience that even strangers seem to feel it’s acceptable to ask you about your reproduction. After meeting someone new, the inevitable first question seems to be either “do you have kids?” or “when are you and your husband planning to have kids?”. As if this isn’t bad enough, tell a doctor you don’t want children, and they out right tell you that you actually do, you are wrong to think you don’t, and, not to worry, you will change your mind (i.e. come to your senses and make some babies). Procedures, like hysterectomies and endometrial ablation, that could vastly improve a woman’s quality of life are put off or denied altogether in the name of procreation. In our society, it is simply not acceptable and downright selfish to not pop out a few more mouths to feed before you die (even if you can’t afford to support them yourself).
After all of this, now we are being told by elected officials that we shouldn’t have sex unless we are trying to make babies and that embryos are more important than our own lives. One elected official has stated that disabled children are women's punishment for having previous abortions. The people in power are obviously no longer interested in science or how biology works. They will use whatever tactics they can to keep women barefoot and pregnant. We are being given the message that women are nothing more than husks created solely for their ability to continue the human race. How far will this go until every single right women have fought for is stripped away and women are forced to live as they did in medieval times?
With reproductive rights being taken away from women all over the country, we are being forced into two options, be a mother or live a sexless existence. There is no room for anything in between. Of course, it is women who are punished with this type of legislation. We've all seen how easy it is for men to walk away (legally speaking) from their offspring, but once a woman gets pregnant (even through no fault of her own, read: rape/incest) she will be stuck with the consequences at least until she comes to term or miscarries. No abortions (even in life-threatening situations) will be allowed.
This society has been quite biased, in our lifetime, when it comes to women and sex. This is merely an extension of sexist thinking. Men are applauded for their "conquests" and only slapped on the wrist when it becomes "inappropriate" (ie cheating goes public). Women are labeled whores or worse, even by other women. I'd say it's time for women to stand up for themselves and stop allowing such sexist language and actions to take place, but that time is long passed. An uprising is long overdue, ladies. Tell your congressmen it is not OK to take away your rights. Show society you are more than a uterus. We are not less than any man out there, and we deserve an equal chance at work, life, love, and happiness. We deserve the choice to live as we choose, not how society or government tells us. Choose for yourself, vote for people who believe in our freedom and equality, and never settle for being undervalued.
S. L. Weitmare holds degrees in psychology and counseling. She is the program director for a small business which helps developmentally delayed adults learn work, life, and social skills. In her free time, she writes fiction and poetry, and enjoys working in many artistic mediums.