I keep running into various stories about porn or erotica for women and I’m briefly interested and then realize that it’s for straight women.
Can you imagine hearing about a piece of lesbian erotica making headlines as a fantastic pop culture hit for women?
Yeah, me neither.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Florida’s Stand Your Ground law not just with regard to George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin but also how that law could be made to work generally, how it is used practically, and how it is different from self-defense laws in other states.
Last point first. In most other states, you do have the right to kill someone in self-defense but if you are able to flee, you must flee. Some states have taken a bolder position and hold that there is no duty to flee in your own home. Florida takes it further and lets people strike preemptively, which creates a lot of leeway.
Obviously the present case with George Zimmerman involves a man stalking a teenager who weighed over 100 lbs less than he did and who never went near him, which strains even the most sympathetic construction of self-defense. I seriously doubt Zimmerman would be out walking around if he had shot a seventeen year old white girl, no matter what she was up to.
Since the law here gives such a broad definition for self-defense, I started thinking about situations where defending yourself with deadly force when someone had merely shown up in your general vicinity, and I had a hard time getting my mind around this at first until I realized I should think about the dangers of Florida:
The Klan. If the Klan showed up at your house in their little matching outfits, I think you might reasonably interpret this as a threat to your life.
Florida anti-abortion terrorists. Anti-choice terrorists have murdered four doctors since about 1993, two of them, Dr. David Gunn and Dr. John Britton, in Florida, as well as various clinic staff, other attempts on people’s lives including both clinic staff and family members, clinic bombings, threats and other scares. While most people who think that god has called them to harass women on the sidewalk are merely annoying idiots, enough of them have been dangerous that I think Florida’s Stand Your Ground law could reasonably describe this as a self-defense situation, especially with the number of websites up for the purposes of stalking and intimidating clinic employees as well as the Wanted posters Operation Rescue is known for.
And then I thought a little more about dangers that were unfortunately more universal, like better protections for people in abusive situations, domestic abuse victims or kids whose parents are abusive, people being sexually harassed or bullied at work or at school.
I also thought more abstractly about whether it would be self-defense to kill a politician who was implementing policy that was directly harmful to you, such as cutting medicaid when you had no other way to afford medication that you need to stay alive.
Then I considered who in these situations is more likely to have and carry a gun, and to be able to get the police and the courts on their side, and I could only conclude that this law is not about self-defense for the general public but about the rights of people with relative privilege to dominate the public sphere.
I keep hearing over and over on the internet that women who respect themselves shouldn’t vote republican given all of the misogynistic get back in the kitchen and have babies until you die legislation that various republican officials and candidates are proposing.
Women who respect themselves shouldn’t vote republican, the internet says, and I keep waiting for the next clause:
and neither should their allies
and somehow the internet is silent.
I am not going to go on a big rant about democrats versus republicans since mostly they both suck. However, I don’t think I am going out on a limb here when I say that there is a problem with expecting only women to support women’s rights, and with not expecting men to be good allies to women. It’s not okay to criticize women for voting republican because of misogynist republican policy and then turn around and give men a pass on it unless you think it’s cool for men to totally dismiss women’s issues as not important enough for them to care about.
Men who respect women, don’t vote for a misogynist.
From Ms. Magazine, At 11th Hour, Georgia Passes “Women as Livestock” Bill.
What is notable about this is not that it is yet another stunning piece of misogynistic legislation aimed to reduce the roles of women in our society to that of mere fetus-containers, but the way Rep. Terry England articulated this idea:
“Life gives us many experiences…I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive. Delivering pigs, dead or alive. It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.”
Wow, Rep. England. It’s totally heartbreaking to see those animals not make it, which is just how we all feel about women! It’s so sad when women or other livestock go through a pregnancy and then have to deliver a dead or nonviable fetus, it’s really terrible for the men and farmers who take care of them! It wouldn’t be sad for women or cows or pigs though, they’re just dumb animals whose purpose in life is turning their bodies into factories for someone else’s interests.
The agency and autonomy are the farmer’s, the pain is the farmer’s, the tragedy is the farmer’s, and not because of his pain at seeing her suffering but because she has not produced what he set her to make. The woman or other female animal has no feelings, no desires, no health to consider, no sense of self, no career or occupation other than to endure pregnancy.