Women Are Not Distractions

Komen continues to miss the point. Nancy Brinker sent an email to supporters:

Dear Friends and Family of Susan G. Komen,

The events of the last week over our funding decisions have been extremely challenging for all of us. Most upsetting is that the controversy has overshadowed our unwavering commitment to helping detect, treat and, ultimately, cure breast cancer. For these recent distractions, we sincerely apologize. [Emphasis in original.]


Women are not distractions. We are not a special interest group which must be appeased. We are not an issue.

We are also not stand-alone body parts. What goes out in our uteri or in our breasts cannot be separated from what goes on in our hearts and minds. You cannot single out parts of us to regulate and parts to ignore.

Women are people who expect, demand, and deserve full representation and full participation in our democracy.

We are tiredI am tired—of being told that I need to go along to get along, that if I’ll compromise now, I’ll be taken care of later, that I need to sit down and stop being so shrill so we can work on more important issues.

Nancy Brinker, I’m sorry that you see your attack on the fundamental right to women’s bodily integrity, and the furious and deafening uproar of hundreds of thousands of people responding to it, as a distraction.

And, frankly, Michael B. Keegan of People for the American Way (which does not list abortion rights or even the code language “women’s health” as a drop-down issue of import on its website) I’m not quite sure you get it, either, since you jumped right in to the Komen kerfuffle to tell women where we should really be directing our anger.

Women, in case you haven’t noticed, are already directing significant ire at right-wing politicians who treat us, alternately, as distractions and wedge issues. And, by directing significant ire, I mean to say that women are voting for Democrats in greater numbers than men. So maybe you should start focusing on what men are doing before you start telling women what to do.

Pro-choice, pro-Planned Parenthood women are dancing as fast as we can. We get beat up by the right, who constantly go after access to safe, legal abortion, aim to reduce access to effective (and do I need to remind everyone, legal) birth control, and even fight against age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education. Then, we turn around to see the men of the left all pink and sputtering in our face, telling us to stop focusing on our narrow self-interest and pay attention to “real” issues.

Enough. I am a woman, and my issues are real. My health is real. My rights are real. Is it too much to ask people living in 2012 in the United States of America to accept that?

Put a Flame Under Your Rage, Sister. Photo of original embroidery by Cross-stitch ninja via Flickr


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