March 4, 2009 § 6 Comments
I’ve written about the significance of language before, in my very first post on Women’s Glib. I’m fascinated by language and linguistics, particularly from a feminist viewpoint, because the way we talk about gender and sex has tremendous bearing on the way we think and act. Little things like welcoming a class full of students by saying “hey guys,” as I wrote about in the post, are representative of much larger social issues.
I’d like to continue what that post started by announcing a new series, Language Matters. Click below the fold for the second edition of the series.
Part Two: Choice and Life
I’m not sure when I started substituting “anti-choice” for “pro-life” – probably around eighth grade, if I remember right. The first time I used the word in conversation with a non-feminist, they snickered. “What’s that? Don’t you mean pro-life?”
No. That’s not what I mean, and here’s why: I am pro-life. I am completely in support of each person’s right to life – their right to go to school and grow up and decide what their favorite food is and ask questions and read magazines and get a job and dream about changing the world. That’s why I’m a pacifist. I want all of those things for every person on this earth, and I’m tired of being made to seem like I’m against life because I am pro-choice.
For me, being pro-life is being pro-women’s lives. It is one the most demeaning things in the world to feel that the government values the life of the fetus potentially living inside me more than my life. It will be a person. I am a person. It will have a life – a life that I’ll fight to protect – but I’ve already got one. It’s a goddamn group of cells. I’m a woman. I laugh at the idea of someone who believes in lives, who believes in autonomy and the right of every thing to exist, telling me how to live mine.
That’s why I much prefer the term anti-choice to pro-life, because that’s what this whole fuss is about: telling women what to do with their bodies, their futures, their lives, instead of letting us choose for ourselves. If anti-choicers were truly pro-life, they would give a shit once the fetus was born – which, you know, they don’t: anti-choicers are the ones who are cutting funds for child care and children’s hospitals. And if they really cared about reducing the number of abortions, they’d stop pouring millions of dollars into bullshit sex ed programs and limiting access to birth control. What they are actually interested in is limiting women’s choices – limiting women’s lives.
That sounds like just the opposite of pro-life to me.
Previously in Language Matters: Part One: “Hey Guys!”