Birth control, equality and why its bigger than Hobby Lobby

The year is 1965, the setting is the United States Supreme Court. hearing the case of Griswold versus the state of Connecticut. Nine male justices heard arguments for and against the legalization of contraceptives. During that hearing, the male justices listened to only some of the  arguments and preferred to read descriptions of birth control methods instead of listening to an attorney speak in depth about a topic that made these nine men squeamish.. The male justices sitting in on that case were not dissimilar to the modern day GOP members of Congress,  who neither care to educate themselves on matters concerning women, but also appear to be wholly uninterested in doing so. Our country has a history of callous disregard when in comes to the needs-and rights-of women. We are now at a point in the 21st century when these issues should not be “issues” and yet here we are in 2014, revisiting the discussion of birth control. In the case of Griswold versus Connecticut, it was decided that birth control for married couples fell under their “right to privacy.” Since Griswold, the Supreme Court has cited the right to privacy in several rulings, most notably in Roe vs. Wade (1973)  where the Court ruled that a woman’s choice to have an abortion was protected as a private decision between her and her doctor. Although the Constitution does not specifically grant citizens the “right to privacy” this ruling has been cited many times in other legal cases.

In our modern day 2014, the current issue is the Affordable Care Act & its requirement that health insurance providers cover without cost to the patient all methods of birth control for women that are approved the FDA.   An exemption is currently being sought by self described “Christian” company  Hobby Lobby, on the basis that the birth control provision conflicts with their beliefs as a corporation. Not that long ago it was ruled that corporations could be considered “People.” I know that cases are heard & won by whomever has the best argument, but really? Corporations aren’t people, whether you can use legal jargon to try to argue it or not.  More to the point, corporations should not be telling their employes what to do or not do in their private lives.

The most current ruling by the Supreme Court has held that any accommodation of religion “must be measured so that it does not override other significant interests” of third parties. The exemption sought in the case of Hobby Lobby would contradict this entirely. Arbitrarily denying insurance coverage for contraceptive methods is a blatant violation of privacy and autonomy for the employee. While I understand the views of places such a Hobby Lobby, Chik Fil A, etc. in wanting to be  “Christian” companies and their desire to uphold those values, and  I understand that whats being asked of them conflicts with their view, .a ruling in their favor would create a dangerous precedent in this country for other companies or parties seeking to control women’s access to birth control. Women would need to seek birth control via other means,  such as clinics…. thereby passing on the expense from employer/employee (because they ARE also paying for the coverage their employer offers) to the public. A ruling in favor could also open the door for abuse of the ACA by any company seeking to reduce costs for themselves simply by stating a  “moral objection” to whatever ailed their wallets. I am a church going  Christian and I morally object to the treatment of women’s bodies as a commodity which corporations feel they have control over. I hope for a ruling against Hobby Lobby.

 

Sources “Contraception as a test of equality–again” – Walter Dellinger, March 25, 2014, Press Democrat;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griswold_v._Connecticut

 

EDIT: I feel the need to insert my own suggestion here…(of course) I’m not certain WHY Hobby Lobby felt they had to file suit in the first place. It seems to me if they were THAT much in opposition, they could simply not supply insurance & their employees could just get it on their own through the exchange. Also, maybe in lieu of ins they could offer a health savings plan that employees could use for “approved expenses” or a health reimbursement plan (*Not sure if this is legal to do) If they truly are that opposed, at the least they better offer daycare reimbursement, and crazy high salaries for their employees to afford all those kids.

 

 

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Breast Cancer Awareness and Facebook fails.

“According to the American Cancer Society, in 2014 over 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, and over 2,300 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men. For more information about breast cancer including resources for breast cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and support, visit http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer.”

Breast cancer is a presence in our society. It is a terrible disease among many that affect women and men in the United States. There is Breast Cancer Awareness month, Race to a Cure, pink ribbons, pink t-shirts and numerous things present in our culture to raise awareness. Certainly no one could say they aren’t at least “aware,” Knowing people who have had this awful disease, I have seen its effects. I agree we as a society should continue to fight and research until there is a cure….

That said, of all the things done in the name of “research” and “awareness” the least helpful and most baffling of these is the creation of random Facebook games that involve women posting: the color of their bra size, that they got out of a speeding ticket using their boobs (not likely) or that they are gay. People (Ladies) this serves no purpose. Certainly no purpose to raise any kind of awareness regarding breast cancer. Because, you see, you haven’t said anything about. You have only baffled your friends on Facebook.

Instead…if you truly would like to “raise awareness” why not join the Avon Walk and round up sponsors and supporters? Wear a breast cancer t-shirt? Donate to a cause? Volunteer your time? At the very least MENTION & DISCUSS it on your Facebook. Just my 2 cents.

I Feel pretty (unpretty) part 2

So I said this might get personal, bear w/ me…I like telling stories from my life but this also applies to women everywhere I think.

I was born into a family which includes petite women.  I only grew to be 4’10”. UI have brown hair and blue eyes. I like me. BUt it took me a long time to do this.

In my middle school years, I was surrounded by peers trying to figure out what was “cool.” I saw movies in which the only thing a kid had to do to be “cool” was to have a makeover and friends appeared. This actually is a great deal how my middle school peers behaved. Towards the end of the year I convinced my mom to let me get a body wave, buy make-up & get new clothes at Macy’s. Just like that, I was “cool.”

As I got older magazines I bought told me I needed to be more than “cool.” I needed to be “beautiful.” But the models were all blonde haired and six feet tall. I did not feel I measured up.

Comments were made to me that I needed to “start watching it.” Although I was a normal sized kid, I started seeing myself as far and ugly. I could see places where I felt I needed to lose weight or to improve upon. This started me on a bad path which ended in my hospitalization & treatment for anorexia at age 13.

As time went on it became a struggle to let go of the analyzing my body, counting calories, worrying about my weight. With practice and help I was able  to let go of it all by the time I reached high school.

When I was in my early 20s I was a healthy size 8 and had no problems with my appearance..I started dating someone and things seemed good. It was not long into the relationship before he started telling me things I’d heard years before…that I needed to start watching it…that his friends girlfriends were smaller and prettier….that I was lucky someone like me could find a guy to date her….I again started analyzing myself, wondering if I was “good enough” and seeing things that, in retrospect, weren’t there. When that relationship ended, I Thought I found someone else to accept me but alas this guy was the same as the one before…Self esteem and self confidence were viewed as a threat. In looking back, I was a normal weight. I was cute and funny and could have dated other people that were nicer…and I think both those guys knew that. Perhaps it was their own insecurities that lead them to want to tear me down, who knows.

It took some time on my own, reflection, maturity & general just work on my part to change the way I thought of myself, and let others project their own insecurities onto me.  I’m now married with a child. I dont count calories. I stopped wearing make-up for a time because I wanted my husband & son to be used to my natural face. (Have you ever seen a woman who wears make up regularly & then are shocked to see her w/o it? I dont want to be one of those women!)   I do occasionally read womens mags still but with an understanding that the vast amount of it-high fashion, expensive make-up for the entire face, the latest fast diet, the airbrushed cover model- does not apply to me. Ironically I’m a size 2 at my natural, non-calorie counting, non-food depriving self…(reference back to petite women in the family, I am one)  I would be shocked & horrified if my husband (who is neither of my aforementioned past boyfriends) said anything to me about being ugly, fat or simply not good enough. I have children to set an example for too, not only in haelthy living, but healthy expectations of themselves & others.

I wish I could have skipped my 20s & gone into my more mature, more knowledgeable, more secure 30s..but live and learn.

So ok…there was a point to these anecdotes that relates to societal expectations of women, stereotypes, beauty myths…I suppose this will be a 3 part series then 🙂

 

 

 

 

I feel pretty (Unpretty) (part 1)

I feel pretty (Unpretty) (part 1)

 

This post may be a bit personal but with a “women’s issue” at the heart of it. This is the name of an old song by 90s band TLC. Although I did not really like this band, I dig this song and what it says. “Glee” re-did it a few seasons back.

The lyrics are as follows….

“I Feel Pretty / UnPretty

I wish I could tie you up in my shoes
Make you feel unpretty too
I was told I was beautiful
But what does that mean to you
Look into the mirror who’s inside there
The one with the long hair
Same old me again todayMy outsides are cool
My insides are blue
Everytime I think I’m through
It’s because of you
I’ve tried different ways
But it’s all the same
At the end of the day
I have myself to blame
I’m just trippin’You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make-up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I to
Be in a position to make me feel so damn unpretty

I feel pretty
Oh so pretty
I feel pretty and witty and bright

Never insecure until I met you
Now I’m being stupid
I used to be so acute to me
Just a little bit skinny
Why do I look to all these things
To keep you happy
Maybe get rid of you
And then I’ll get back to me (hey)

My outsides look cool
My insides are blue
Everytime I think I’m through
It’s because of you
I’ve tried different ways
But it’s all the same
At the end of the day
I have myself to blame
Keep on trippin’

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make-up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I to
Be in a position to make me feel so damn unpretty

I feel pretty
Oh so pretty
I feel pretty and witty and bright
And I pity
Any girl who isn’t me tonight

Oh oh oh oh oh (Tonight)
Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh (Tonight)
Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh (Tonight)
Oh oh oh oh oh

I feel pretty (You can buy your hair if it won’t grow)
Oh so pretty (You can fix your nose if he says so)
I feel pretty and witty and bright (You can buy all the make-up that M.A.C. can make)
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I to
Be in a position to make me feel so damn unpretty

I feel pretty
But unpretty

 

“Whats your excuse?”

This piece is a response to that question, sort of. several months ago, there was debate over a photo of a woman in fitness clothes, flat stomach holding her children under the headline “whats your excuse?” I wanted to give “hot mom” as she was branded by the media the benefit of doubt that she did not come up with the slogan, perhaps someone added that & It went viral, I thought. No. Here we are maybe a year later and this lovely example of fitness is at her body shaming best. A new photo is circulating stating “hot mom still wants to know  ‘whats your excuse’?” So in response to that photo -which I have attached a link to – I give you my thoughts WordPress….

First off shes wearing some lovely clothes & make up, how wonderful that she clearly can afford the benefits of that in addition to her gym membership. I lost weight pretty quick after having my son, a combo of good genes & Breastfeeding. I didn’t exercise except to take my infant & dog on small walks. Why? B/c losing weight rapidly is bad for you, b/c being exhausted is common & so is being puffy in the belly as a result of stretched muscles & a stretched uterus. You’re not even supposed to do strenuous exercise after childbirth. People like her perpetuate the myth promoted by Hollywood of “getting your pre-baby body back quickly. Its not healthy nor should it be a standard by which to be condescending to others about. And I say this as someone who is a size 2. One size does not fit all!!

 

http://http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/07/maria-kang-photo-excuse_n_4918766.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063