OPINION: LIFE AS I KNOW IT
IF men could get pregnant a termination would be as procedural as a vasectomy.
There would be no lectures, no shaming and the legislation created around said choice would ensure it was accessible and the environment supportive.
It would have been enshrined in laws across the world since ancient Mesopotamia and the topic would be a private matter for individuals and their doctors, not for public consumption. It wouldn’t be open slather for governments (run by men), churches (run by men) or sporting groups (run by men) to dictate or incriminate what women can or can’t do with their bodies.
This is because unwanted pregnancy would be a life-changing physical and mentality reality for the WHOLE population to contend with. It would directly impact on the people in charge, those who oversee the existence and function of things in society – men.
But of course this hypothetical scenario is never going to happen, so you guys are off the hook.
Being free of ever having to bear the physical and mental burden of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy beyond observing or supporting from the sidelines is a man’s good fortune.
So it’s much easier for men to be self-righteous about it, have a holier than thou opinion on it, condemn the act and belittle the people who are at the coal face of having to deal with it. Because men will never be physically confronted with having to make that choice, have their lives devastated by it or had to make a tortuous, or sensible, decision about it.
Abortion is just another nail in the coffin of shame in which women are encrypted in from birth until it’s placed six foot under. Even then, there’s no guarantee gossip and reputation won’t haunt beyond one’s final resting place.
Thankfully brave women have been busting out of grave situations like this and demanding better since they stop worrying about being raped and murdered for speaking up. Some have died trying, others had careers killed off, their reputations decimated (Monica Lewinsky, Amber Harrison to quote two of two billion). Others have been more broadly banished into those shadows projected by the ivory towers of patriarchal society that loom like a Tolkien fantasy film set – ‘cept they’re real. Protect the bros, women are pros – if you are looking for an up-to-date analogy.
And so here we are in 2018 and a woman who speaks out about the systematic hell involved in seeking a female-only surgical procedure, loses her job at a male-made national sporting organisation over it.
To undermine and humiliate her further because once is not enough, confidential medical information was revealed by a government staffer to her employer revealing her own history of seeking said procedure (which makes sense in her condemning the system in the first place). She then bravely came forward identifying herself and making her personal information public because standing up to bullies requires transparency, particularly if you are a women as you are judged ten fold.
Angela Williamson is taking on the boys club, that mechanical bull that thought they could just flick her off in eight seconds and prepare for the next bitch that needs to keep her mouth shut. Cricket Australia and the Tasmanian Government might not publicly have that last phrase in their mission statements but hell the message is loud and clear enough.
Thanks to Angela’s mettle, this jaw-dropping behaviour has an upside.
This farcical turn of events’ redeeming feature is that she has been swamped with support from around the world by women and men, and the media, who understandably can’t fathom why a country like Australia stinks so much when it comes to respecting and valuing its women and girls.
This is evidence of tangible change. A few years ago this kind of sacking would never have had enough oxygen to ignite a wave of criticism like this but between Angela’s stoicism and society’s groundswell of support for women and their basic human rights, cases like these are only going to increase. They will still generate public shame and ridicule, but it won’t be women who have to bear the brunt of it any more.