I wanted to start this blog by talking about love and sex. I am a sucker for romance and all things related to it. But you’d know that if you’ve read about Christy and Ramon, Carole and Jimmy, and Mary Louise and Jim in my novel Love Means Second Chances (shameless plug!).
But because of the current political scene, the love I’m concerned about today is not romantic. It’s the kind of big-picture love that involves compassion, empathy, understanding, tolerance, and respect for women in public life. The Greeks called it philia, though they conveniently neglected to apply it to slaves. (Hold that thought; I’ll get back to it.) That kind of love is totally missing in today’s war on women.
All the attacks on reproductive rights, freedom, and justice — the many state laws designed to restrict, punish, demean, humiliate, and control women; and the scurrilous name-calling of a young woman who dared to admit publicly that she is sexually active — reflect the most perverse backwardness and obvious misogyny that is totally out of touch with the lives of the 99% of people who are struggling to get on with their lives in an uncertain, unstable economic and social scene.
Those attacks are forcing women to fight old battles for the right to contraception, won nearly 50 years ago; to safe, legal, accessible abortion, won nearly 40 years ago; and the right to be sexual – which you’d think was won eons ago given how women’s bodies are excessively flaunted in advertising.
But obviously the mostly male politicians – in both parties, I might add – could care less about women. They are out of touch with women’s lives: the stress of needing to work even for low wages to cover the family bills and to juggle taking care of kids while prices rise for everything from childcare to cereal to contraceptives. Politicians in places like Texas, Kansas, Virginia, and Congress are treating women as a class like the Greeks treated slaves — like their property! They are using their power to try to ruthlessly, viciously, brutally subjugate women.
But they’re going too far.
Just like the people of Wisconsin stood up to Gov. Scott Walker in defense of working people’s right to organize collectively — and helped inspire the Occupy movement which popularized the concept of the 99% versus the 1% — women are rising to counter the attacks on their right to life. And as the old political adage goes “repression breeds resistance.”
Which brings me full circle. I confess to being a dyed-in-the-wool, 1960s’ political activist who was inspired to write Love Means Second Chances to try to bring about political change outside the hullabaloo of real-life politics. I wrote a pro-choice novel so that people could view abortion in an intimate setting of a family drama. So the lives of three generations of Catholic women would provide examples of women striving for love and for control of their lives. I choose the title deliberately because women need love and we deserve second chances.
Follow my blog and help me get out the word about my novel so it can be used to bring about a more humane, caring, better world. So that women of all races, sexualities, classes, ages, ethnic backgrounds, religions, abilities, immigration status — and any other things used to divide us — will feel supported, understood, and, yes, respected. So that all women can flourish as fulfilled human beings.