SEASONS OF WOMAN
She . . .
Charms- pouty, kissy mouth,
Trusting eyes, a blessing;
Arms and heart so open,
Knowing she is loved.
Grows- mind filled with wonder,
Bending to life’s breezes;
Centering her heart,
Knowing she has worth.
Gives- bearing babies, baring soul,
Teaching- learning, above all;
Heart breaking and becoming,
Knowing she is strong.
Reflects- wisdom sought, wisdom earned,
Life’s nuances, a delight;
Arms and heart still open,
Knowing she has loved.
. . . she.
On this day, the first anniversary of Trump’s presidency, the same day our government has been shut down, women are marching all around our country- AGAIN. Women are claiming their power to define, establish and maintain their human rights as citizens of the United States and of the world.
This is nothing new. For centuries (possibly millennia!) women have had to defend their very femininity against concurrent cultural perceptions of their intellect and abilities, as well as their worth and status in society. It has become tedious to address each cultural nuance, each new attack against womanhood, which presents itself. Given that it is our female anatomy and physiology which allow for the continued procreation of humankind, what in hell is the problem? Remember, “it takes TWO, baby!” to make a baby. Women and men are equal partners. Why have our cultures throughout the ages failed to reflect this equality? The likely answer is: PREGNANCY.
During pregnancy, women are somewhat physically and emotionally vulnerable. While this vulnerability is temporary, it can be misperceived as weakness- and therefore exploited. Further, until the recent era of ready access to dependable methods of birth control, it was common for women to get pregnant every two to three years. They spent years of their lives in a vulnerable state.
Throughout history, we have attempted to control our fertility. Anthropologists have discovered condoms made from a variety of materials dating back as far as 3000 years ago. Yet the use of artificial contraception (any method other than abstinence) has created enormous cultural and religious controversy for centuries. Changing the number of pregnancies women experience would of course create change in society. Those changes are not totally predictable, nor are they necessarily desirable to all.
When I was a young teen, I occasionally heard men joking about their wives, saying, “It’s best to keep ’em barefoot and pregnant!” That is: “barefoot” to keep women in the home, and “pregnant” to keep them vulnerable and more easily controlled. Consider a few other bits of American history:
- 1873- The Comstock Laws passed by Congress under Grant intended to “suppress trade in, and circulation of, obscene literature and articles of immoral use.” Among those were “articles used for contraception or abortion.” [Wikipedia]
- 1960- Enovid, the first birth control pill, cleared the FDA for human use.
- 1965- “Grisvold v. Connecticut struck down one of the [last] remaining Comstock laws.” [Wikipedia]
- 1965- The US Supreme Court gave married couples the right to use birth control, but unmarried women in 26 states were denied access to birth control pills.
- 1972- In Baird v. Eisenstadt the US Supreme Court legalized birth control methods for all citizens regardless of marital status.
- 2018- We’re still marching. Sexual harassment against women reached a tipping point last year, and our hidden shame has been thrown off by giving it our voice. Epidemic domestic violence continues despite all our efforts.
It seems we must keep on marching.
Dedicated to my four granddaughters: Allyson, Christina, Amber, and Elizabeth; and to my two grandsons, Joseph and Jacob.