As a young girl who grew up in the 1970’s, the women I knew were strong, decisive and unapologetic about their core political beliefs and social views.
They knew how they felt about issues that affected them—and the right to make decisions about their reproductive rights and autonomous political freedoms were no different.
As a ten-year old child, I overheard female teachers discuss ‘equal pay for equal work’ and about how they planned to strike if they didn’t receive a pay increase.
I recall my grandmother divorcing my grandfather during the 1950’s because, in her words, “he was god awful“—and that it was the best decision for her and her family.
It wasn’t a popular decision by post-war standards, or by today’s, but it was hers.
I also recall my mother and her friends talk about contraception, families, abortion and other “human issues,” with clear, concise language, that conveyed honest, integral forethought and intelligible, unscripted passion.
As the mother today of coming-of-age daughters, this is not their reality.
They say they don’t hear much, if anything, from older women, friends, moms or teachers, about political and domestic policies that might forever change the future of their lives.
What they do hear a lot about is bullying, teen suicide, YouTube reality stars of the moment and about how hard it will be for them to afford college, if at all.
My 13 year-old recently became a vegetarian, because she is passionate about animal rights. She also showed me a popular video that predicts The End of the World by the time she turns 20, due to global warming, overpopulation and germ warfare.
But she has not said anything about being able to make choices about her own body.
Imagine that—a young woman, whose very future will depend on who becomes elected—and she has no idea what is at stake.
As this issue is now at the battlefront for our American psyche, albeit often discussed in a clinical and emotionless manner, I finally made the choice to tell her about the choices she didn’t even know she had.
Her reaction was anything but apathetic and passionless.
Rather, she told me how much she wished she could vote and in her words, “No one knows the way I feel about what is going on in my body and no one should have the right to make laws against me.”
Out of the mouths of babes.
What is most disturbing is that many adult women lack passion about this very serious issue, way past its due date and in need of passionate, militant discussion and action, right about now.
As evidenced by the closing of the gender gap among likely women voters who have come out of the Romney-ized gender woodwork as sudden supporters, the words baffling and shocking doesn’t even begin to describe the frustration that myself and like-minded women and men feel.
Who are these women anyway?
Do they not realize that the Romney-Ryan camp plans to criminalize women if they choose to abort unwanted pregnancies?
Do they not realize they will be become less than second class citizens—and that their own daughters will endure forced political rape and fascism of the worst kind?
Do they understand that this will be just the beginning of a War on Women that will no longer just be a cute, political catchphrase—but a real war that they may never recover from?
And is it really so long ago when we appreciated the struggles and liberties that the Women’s movement and Civil Rights movements afforded both women and men in this country?
Evidently, it has.
In the world that I grew up in, we lived without the 24 minute news cycle; without the unabashed bashing of presidents; without abusive infighting amongst our own fighters and allies— and without the indoctrination and proselytizing of women and men into a class and gender warfare that only hurts us all.
In the world I grew up in, the Republican party was not the party of backwards uncivil ideology; the Democratic party was not like the Republican party of yesteryear and people seemed to thoughtfully converse about what we knew would dramatically change the landscape of our country, in more than 10-second sarcastic soundbites.
And, in the world I grew up in, being part of the middle class was about the values that we shared more than the dollar amount on our paychecks; women and men fought together for many of the rights and freedoms that we now enjoy—and, we all knew that our individual opinions mattered more than a campaign or poll that told us otherwise.
But something has happened to the American people…and especially to women.
While there are many outspoken, intelligent female leaders, lawmakers, activists and pundits who have faced the issue of reproductive freedom head on, there are many women who seem to deny the issue as imperative, ignore it and even rally against the issue as a non-issue.
As I talk to women and hear these Now-Decided females discuss their support of a Romney-Ryan ticket, they don’t seem to be aware or care much about the grim realities they will face; not even as much as my 13-year old, who has only been cognizant of the issue for less than 24 hours.
But even worse, I sense a feeling of personal mistrust, psychological malaise and unrealized self-hatred among some women. One only need look at the most popular television shows among females to make some sense of what is happening to the culture of women.
Among them are programs like the Real Housewives series, the Bachelorette, the Keeping Up with The Kardashians and a myriad of other misogynistic shows wherein women get drunk, get in brawls and cuss each other out over clothes, cheating men and anything at all that is unsubstantial and antithetical to our authenticity as powerful and autonomous political and social beings.
The plasticization of women is not a new phenomena in this culture…but it is getting exponentially and horrendously worse.
With a seeming new religion in this country that of worshipping Paparazzied-Pinups by both young and older women as real and admirable, it’s no wonder that the threat to massacre women’s reproductive rights might be irreverent, if not downright appealing.
The choice debate for many women now means having the right to secure fake breasts, turned-up noses, flat stomachs and Barbie-esque chiseled faces, with no one having the right to tell them otherwise.
Just turn on your television, listen to the radio and surf the internet and you’ll find “the most talked about issue” for women today is about ‘how we look’ and not about how or what we think.
As the mother of daughters who are growing up in an age of a mass media culture that has gone awry and vile often at best, it is impossible for me to keep them from hearing, viewing and becoming influenced by what is spewed vitriol-like, at all of their senses, at a continuous and menacing speed.
We are robbing the living daylights right out of our children—and especially from our young girls.
But they are not to blame; they only echo what they see and remain silent about what they don’t.
Until real women begin to speak up more about the real issues that matter to us all, we are surely in danger of becoming a gender—and a people—who will self-destruct from the inside out and no longer be heard insofar as even the most mundane of issues.
For those women who have now decided to vote for Romney, I only hope they understand that under his reign, being a woman will mean that we have decided that we are not “not nearly as important” as a law that overlooks our best autonomous and viable of interests.
Even the cells that have barely begun to grow in our bodies once we become pregnant will have more property rights, humane and human rights and more legal rights than we will.
I wouldn’t be surprised if under Romney-Ryan, the fact that I am a woman will mean that I have a naturally occurring and pre-existing condition.
The only solace that I can muster is that this is some strange, Twilight-Zoned phase, that will only momentarily pacify the political palettes and once primed posture of women in this country.
*This article was adapted from the original, which appeared here.
Editor: Bryonie Wise