Barefoot and Pregnant

As I sit on my couch this snowy Sunday, drinking coffee with my dog and cats dozing beside me, current events run through my mind. I often do some of my best thinking in the winter. The natural order of life slows down, the snow and cold beckon us to stay indoors, hunkered down. Lately, I have been thinking about the messages we receive throughout life whether by society or individuals. No matter our gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity, we all receive them. As a woman I am especially aware of the messages I have received and know other women have as well. Which brings me to my home state of Michigan. This week legislation passed that effectively communicates, a woman’s body is never her own and women are not equals. These messages seem to be buzzing about all over the country. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think the State of Michigan, where I have lived my entire life, would declare governance over my body.

The utter reality of the current state of affairs in Michigan has caused me to stop and think. It has been a process. Quite a few days worth of processing. I needed time to stew over this. In all honesty my gut reaction was, Is it time to move?

This year has brought a host of legal onslaughts for anyone who is a minority. It goes without saying that legislation would never pass requiring a man to purchase an additional rider to protect his erection or reverse a vasectomy. Yet how is it in 2013, 4%, I’ll say it again, 4% decided the fate of every woman in Michigan? What right does the government have to regulate our bodies?

Michigan, you have failed me and so many others. I stood beside you through the economic downturn. Cheered you along with pride as communities innovated and revitalized themselves as a result. This is not the Michigan I love and want to be a part of.

The only good to come of this legislation and others like it around the country, is women are beginning to say enough. I want to personally thank every female elected official who had the courage to speak openly in a forum, as public as, a legislative process. To have the strength to stand before your peers and discuss something, as intimate as your body, is truly remarkable. Your stories do not go unrecognized.

Senator Gretchen Whitmer, I have a new found respect for you.

To those who decided the fate of my body, thank you for reminding me that I am merely a second class citizen. I wonder how you would feel if your testicles were regulated? Obviously ovaries and uteruses are fair game. Then again, what right do I have to wonder such things. After all, I belong barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. While I am in the kitchen I better remember to plan ahead for a medically necessary procedure if anything should go wrong with my pregnancy.

Message heard. Loud and clear.

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