There’s nothing to be gained by politicizing women’s health, but there’s a lot to lose.
Consider this: Two years ago, the Susan G. Komen Foundation walked into a hornet’s nest when it did something that was fundamentally opposed to its mission. It jumped into a controversy that was all about politics and nothing about breast cancer patients and survivors.
Love Your Body, a campaign of the NOW Foundation, “challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.” Women and girls are told, every day and in so many ways,that being admired, envied and desired based on their looks is a primary function of true womanhood. The beauty standards enforced by our society are rigid, narrow, unrealistic, and very, very white.
My close friend Shane recently began the transition process and described it to me as “overwhelming” and “difficult to achieve.” His parents, although entirely supportive of his transgender identity, could not help much financially with the transition. Without a job — and his parents unable to contribute — Shane wondered how he would pay for monthly prescriptions of hormones, blood work to monitor his health, and eventually surgery.
While we’ve got a century of distance from the Victorians, our social norms have not advanced as much as we’d like to believe. We still see sex, especially female sexuality, as something taboo at best and nonexistent at worst.
But in the real-life disaster that in the Republican Tea Party’s government shutdown, “women and children first” is the order in which victims of the shutdown are selected.
Is it inappropriate for 14-year-old girls to be having sex? Of course it is.
Should parents bite the bullet and have the difficult conversation with their young daughters (and sons) about having sex too young? Of course they should.
But would a responsible parent wish to deny their child urgently needed — potentially life-saving — health care?
Of course they shouldn’t.
The leaders of the Republican Party claim to be on a mission to reduce this nation’s “crushing burden of debt.” The centerpiece of this effort is Rep. Paul Ryan’s 99-page 2013 budget proposal. Because GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has embraced it wholeheartedly, I call it the Romney-Ryan budget plan.
We’re facing nothing less than a public health crisis over body image.
The cosmetics industry swears that the amount of toxins in each product is too small to make a difference, but think about how many products we use each day. These chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or ingested. Little amounts of neurotoxins and carcinogens really start to add up.
Shackling of pregnant women is an alarming trend in United States’ prisons. Only six states in the U.S. have laws expressly condemning the practice. The Pennsylvania legislature recently introduced an anti-shackling bill that received unanimous approval in the Judiciary Committee, and Washington state has a proposed bill hopefully being introduced soon. As more women are being incarcerated as a result of increasingly harsh drug laws, the number of pregnant women in prison has also increased, making shackling an even more pressing issue.