An attempt to understand why some people think they can decide what a woman does with her own body. And also an attempt to understand some glaring, rather disturbing paradox…
There was a march here in Slovakia. They called it ‘Za Zivot’. Pro life. A label that means just one thing: they are against women seeking abortion, no matter the specifics. Regardless of any circumstances. Context doesn’t matter. The situation, feelings, potential suffering or jeopardized future of women facing such choices does not matter at all to them. So they are pro life, but apparently not really too excited about the life of mature women and their freedom to choose what they want do with their own body. We will see that in the end they are just not a big fan of women in general.
Odd thing number one. The most vocal are men… How comfortable it is to make up rules for situations you will never have to face yourself.
Interesting thing number two. Lots of hardcore Catholics are involved. I have seen people who would never participate in any kind of political action whatsoever take to the streets suddenly. Some of them love to make fun of people waving flags in any kind of cause. Now they were the ones waving a flag. These are the same Catholics who never question why millions of children are currently being persecuted, bombed, abused. These are – remarkably- the same people who claim there are no pedophile priests in Slovakia (Should I laugh or cry now? Probably cry…).
Scary thing number three. The Slovak fascists, mainly the party of Kotleba – imagine Hitler but with the charisma of hairy chewing gum stuck on your shoe – actively supported these people. Scary bed fellows…. If anything you are for gets the ardent and open support of a party that is as virulently neo-nazi as you can get, you may have a small problem… This party goes berserk at the mere mention of migrants coming to Slovakia. The unborn are welcome. Once born you have to stay the fuck away. Interesting paradox…
Am not a fan of labels, but if I would have to find one for the participants I know personally, I would have to use the word: neurotic.
It’s not just that these people are against the right of women to chose when it comes to whether or not to have a legally sanctioned abortion. No, it’s that these people are against choices in general. Neurotics are actually scared and overwhelmed by life. So many options! They are desperately in need of some playbook, rules, less choice, less worries. With the fascist participants in the march as the extreme. Anyone who knows the history of fascist totalitarianism knows how few choices were available to citizens of Nazi-Germany. Agree with us or die. Most neurotics only hurt themselves, but when they start lashing out, the consequences are catastrophic. You can read books by the psychologist Wilhelm Reich on the origins of fascism. Hint: it has something to do with the suppression of sexual desire…
Neurotics fear the world. They fear their own instincts. Their own desires. They want to suppress. They want to suppress anything inside themselves that is sexual in nature. Anything that excites these scary, uncontrollable, confusing instincts is evil. Moral outrage is usually just a fancy cover for envy.
The loudest pro-lifer among my Facebook friends is a friendly, 19th century like mannered, well meaning homosexual who sadly hates the fact that he is a homosexual and does not want to be homosexual, because it’s ‘unnatural’. And as human beings we should strive to rise above such base inclinations. Good luck with that buddy. So profiling himself as being pro life he is in fact daily at war with anything resembling an authentic life inside himself. Could it be that the restrictions he so desperately seeks to impose on himself he wishes to impose on others? Everyone would be better off if he would just embrace his sexuality. Newsflash, my friend, even the current Pope encourages you to accept your being gay. You can check that here. Do I really need to mention that Slovak Catholics have no idea what to do with a Pope like this? Give us strict rules, your scary confusing Holiness!!!! Anyway, my dear buddy, be your gay self! I know openly gay people, even in Slovakia. They are great! There is a reason why gay also means ‘jolly’ and ‘cheerful’ and ‘fun’.
Neurotics in their aversion to pleasure, in their great, big fear of letting go, of enjoying the body too much, envy others who are not so repressed. They want to restrict the free spirited. They wish to chain others as they are chained. Hitler hated art forms that were too free, too spontaneous. Being a highly neurotic human being, combined with his narcissicm, anything too free had to be stamped out. Entartete Kunst he called it.
I know neurotics. I work with them. I grew up with some. I have several deeply neurotic family members. I’ve seen the traumas that lead to this approach to life and I have seen the damage it does. The masochism that is a result of it. The never ending self-flagellation. They are the ideal targets of the Catholic Church. People who wish to live according to rules that cannot humanly be respected at all times. Catholic rules are made to be impossible to adhere to. The result is constant guilt. And to get rid of this horrible feeling of guilt and shame you of course need an ordained male – always a male, since the Church is still a bastion of male power – to absolve you. It must be the best marketing trick ever set loose on mankind.
Anyone who has worked with therapy clients knows that what people fear is exactly the thing they will create. Someone who is paranoid about the possibilty that his wife might cheat on him will put his wife in such a lonely cage that she will go and cheat on him or even leave him. Someone who is deadly afraid of dirt will -ironically – create a total mess in a public toilet. They cover everything in toilet paper so they won’t touch anything directly with their skin. Not wanting to touch anything they drop stuff on the floor. They will be awkward and clumsy. They will frantically use the dryers to dry their hands, the very thing that will spray them with all kinds of germs. Afraid to touch anything they will let machines spew fecal matter on them. All in the illusion of cleanliness. It’s, partly, a neurotic attitude that fueled the holocaust. The German obsession with cleanliness made Germans minds especially receptive to propaganda equalling the jews with germs. Society had to be sanitized and jews were the microbes.
This ‘pro life’ march has had the same averse effect.
People who normally don’t think too much about this issue are now following this debate. Partly because of the support of members of Kotleba’s party the pro lifers have damaged their own image. These people love to complain about Gay Pride Marches, how it’s unnecessary, how it provokes, and then… they go and do the same thing. Angering people. Upsetting people. Re-traumatizing women who have for their own private reasons opted for abortion at one point in their life. You can be sure that the vast majority of these women did not take that decision lightly. You can opt to think that these women were somehow to stupid or selfish to make that decision or you can opt to think that women are very capable and intelligent human beings who know what’s best for themselves, for the world and for their offspring. Personally I choose this pro-women option. Which is ultimately much more pro-life.
I am not saying that the people who are anti the right to abortion are evil people. I believe they are traumatized people. They are either directly traumatized or carry the burden of former generations. In Slovakia one of those generational burdens is that women have been immensely oppressed here. They had no say about anthing and just existed to serve men. Although young Slovak women are really rising up against this, are embracing their individuality, their independence, it’s still a struggle. Especially the older generation of women could in a sense be seen as self-hating women… Because that’s how they were raised. Get married. Slave away to make your husband and children happy, their happiness is your happiness. There is no alternative. Quite a few young Slovak women still think this is the best way to be. One reason is that it will get them the support and compliments of patriarchal men and the older generations. Some people just enjoy cooing at the feet of their oppressors.
The neurotics – by the way, I do not mean this is an insult, but as a helpful diagnosis to make a point, nobody chooses to be a neurotic, it’s a painful way of being, rooted childhood- who marched in this march are often overly friendly, even officious, overly subservient people, often submissive even. They often smile the smile of the masochist. Catholicism happens to be the religion of the masochist. If you have ever gone to a Catholic mass you have experienced how purposeful suffering is an integral part of the whole procedure. Kneel, stand, bend. Listen to rather plaintive songs… Listen to a priest telling you about how you are a sinner.
These people embrace their restrictive world view. Who does not want to share their world, is a threat. Any book, any movie that even so much as hints to a different sort of world is to be rejected. It’s a world where there are few options. Especially when it comes to joy. A Catholic can drink alcohol, indulge in food, and maybe once in a while have sex, of course in ONE relationship meant to last for all eternity. Preferably in missionary position. Preferably without cunnilingus. The woman might enjoy it too much.
And there we hit the essence of it all.
This is hardly about protecting the life of the unborn. This is mostly about restricting women. Because women symbolize life, vibrancy, spontaneity, joy, aliveness, intuition. There are plenty of men who fear women. Not just fear. They hate women. They hate women because women arouse them, unintentionally, just by being women. And they hate women because the vast, vast majority of women will never ever have sex with them. Women can’t win with male neurotics. When they want to have sex, they shock them out of their safe world of restriction and when they don’t want to have sex with them, they intensify their feelings of inadequacy, of faillure. So they have to be punished, restricted, and their choices do not matter. They are here to nurture. Nothing else.
So when a woman is raped and gets impregnated by her rapist these people want her to give birth to the result of this very traumatic event. The experience of the woman is irrelevant. It’s not difficult to imagine that these people on some level assume that if a woman was raped she probably deserved it. God’s will be done. And anyway, the life of the unborn child trumps anything. Of course, once this child is born this -most likely – single woman will be forced to raise this child on her own. And can anyone deny that raising a child as a single mum is a nightmare? And these women will certainly not have to expect any help from the Catholic Church.
The unborn life matters infinitely more than the life that is already out of the womb. Once you are out you have to fend for yourself. Any problem you have is your own damn fault. But as long as you have an umbilical chord you are sacred to them. They will march for you. When bombs are raining on you once you are out of the womb, these people will happily stay inside or go hiking in the mountains. Not their problem. Hey, at least they fought to not get you aborted. Now you can die. You no longer trigger their emotions. You no longer serve to give them a cause to fight for. One of the most emotional of all.
Be consistent :: Ejaculation is genocide
One wonders if these men refrain from all ejaculation. It would be odd to commit a genocide watching anal porn online with one hand on their dick and one hand on the box of kleenex, right before darting off a meme on Facebook crying how horrible it is that women can abort ONE potential human being. The male counter-argument is immediately: but semen has no soul. How handy it is to arbitrarily decide what has a soul and what does not have a soul….
Pro-life? Please pay for life, thank you.
It would also be wonderfully consistent if these people would agree to pay for all babies born against the express will of their mothers. Deny a woman’s right to decide when she gets a baby? Great, now pay for the baby she didn’t want. If you are really so ‘pro life’. What these people seems most pro, is pro attention. Look what a good person I am! I stand up for babies! Against the evil people who don’t!
A rich man does not have to tell you he is right.
A courageous woman will not tell you she is courageous.
A tough woman will not wear a T-shirt reading: I am a tough woman. If she is tough, you will know without her saying so.
A lion does not have to tell you he is a lion.
Why do these people need to claim so loudly they are pro life?
Who are they trying to convince? Others or themselves?
I don’t see people who are anti the right to abortion as being pro life. In fact, I see these people as at war with themselves, at war with the potential of their own lives. Clinging to one clear cause to make sense of the world, to have a purpose in life, to stand for something. Mostly against something.
A simple suggestion
If you do not have a uterus, kindly refrain from telling people with a uterus what to do with it. Unless you will happily accept a draconian law against all your ejaculations that do no directly lead to a pregnancy with a consenting woman.
Pro-lifers, please show how passionately pro life you are
If you really have to loudly claim to be pro life, I wish to see you out on the street waving flags and marching to stop the military industrial complex in the US, I want to see you fly to Palestine at the weekend to stand with peaceful Palestinian protesters at the separation fence. I want to see you send humanitarian aid to Gaza. I want to you go to Damascus and help Syrian orphans. I want you to send at least 20 percent of your paycheck to the BORN victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, every month or any similar problem.
You have to earn it. You have to EARN the right to scream you are pro life.
If you have to scream from the roof tops how pro life you are, I want to see you volunteer at centers for addicts, and I want you to vote for laws creating centers where heroin addicts can shoot up, because this practice saves lives, and you want to save lives.
I want to see you scream to help all refugees risking death by drowning when they try to get to Italy from North-Africa. Put up banners now. Change your profile pics on Facebook. I want to see how much you want those refugees to live.
If you can free up a Sunday to march for life, you can free up at least one weekend to bring food to refugees in Italy. From Slovakia it’s not that far.
If you are doing nothing, or not much anyway, to actively protect the BORN people at risk of dying, then DO NOT hypocritically scream you are pro life. You are simply endangering women, making sure some children come into this world set for a long and miserable existence, you are plunging traumatized women into even greater trauma. Just to prove what an outstanding, caring human being you are. No, you’re not. If you were you would be doing something else.
And no, abortion should not be something like getting a haircut, but still it’s none of your business
Abortion is not something to be taken lightly. Almost any woman undergoing the procedure will remember it as something tragic, something she hoped she would never have to undergo. But the option should be available to her. Because not everyone is ready to be a parent. Because yes, a child born at the wrong moment can be set up to just suffer and suffer in life. And no, suffering is not the end goal of life here on earth as some people seem to think. I think we can all agree that suffering as humans is unavoidable, but we can also agree we shouldn’t have more of it if it can be prevented.
To name just one example: To expect a rape victim to give birth to the child of her rapist, without consulting her thoughts on the matter, without taking into consideration the full emotional impact, strain on her life, the undermining of her future, and the likely troublesome start in life for that child, is outright ANTI life. If a woman in such a situation does decide to keep that baby, well, congratulations, that’s a tough decision to make, and she deserves all support she can get from society. She most likely won’t be getting it from the Church, nor from these happy marchers…. And by all means, this child should of course never be stigmatized or branded ‘the child of a rapist’.
However, if a woman feels she can’t deal with this, a decision only she is fit to make, she should have every right to do so. She should never be judged. Hell, as far as I know this Jesus figure lots of folks claim to want to emulate, he’d be the first to embrace this woman, since this one quarter historical three quarters mythological figure is almost always represented as a loving being who stands up for the people who need your support the most.
Her womb, her choice.
And as we say in Slovak: