I went with THE amazing Garland Grey (who I feel endlessly lucky to call a friend – we lunch) to a panel at the University of Texas hosted by the Texas Observer about the rollbacks to reproductive rights (driven by the response to their latest issue, which has, perhaps, the best cover ever on a magazine).
We had thoughts. Garland asked me to chat with him about them. We did. He published them at Tiger Beatdown (YES – TIGER BEATDOWN. I’m on Tiger Beatdown today. I’m trying not to swoon and I’m dangerously close to failing).
Here’s my favorite part (emphasis mine):
GARLAND: I know that you have a personal distaste for the “war on women” language that was flying around the room that evening, with one woman raising her hand to praise the language based on hearing a Republican strategist comment on how effective it was. It seemed like it underscored the false dichotomy of that earlier statement: we can either care about everyone or we can win. Which totally worked for the 2nd wave because here we are, in this gender utopia.
JESSICA: Even the woman who spoke about the importance of intersectionality spent a fair amount of time praising the term “war on women,” which is a term that actively excludes people who aren’t cis women but are just as (or more so) deeply affected by anti-choice legislation and ideas. I was glad that there was discussion about doing intersectional social justice activism (in this case, specifically in reproductive rights movement) without diluting the message. Yet, I feel that even the idea that intersectionality dilutes our message is false and plays into conservative beliefs about how the world works. When we use the language of “war on women” because it is politically expedient in talking to conservatives about these issues at the expense of denying the existence and struggle of trans* and non-binary people, what social justice activism are we actually doing? And why are we watering down the reality and lived experience of other people in order to make conservatives feel more comfortable in this conversation? I can’t get behind the “War on Women” because that is simply too narrow a term for who is actually being affected. But I’m also not sure how to talk about this at a local meeting about reproductive rights rollbacks.
I love the whole damn thing. Thanks, Garland.
Also, in the piece I talk about a post at my blog that a friend wrote about her late-term abortion. Here’s a link.