Friday, March 9, 2012

Slaves to Our Biology No More

What is the most fundamental difference between humans and other animals?

You might start thinking about things like language, music, and culture. Those are good answers but I'm thinking deeper than that. What really sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom? What does humanity have that other animals do not? I believe the answer is simple:

Humans have both the will and the means to become masters of their biology.

Think about it. Most animals are slaves to their biology. They don't get to decide their role in their societies. They don't get to decide when to reproduce or how many offspring to have. They do not appear to have the will to transcend their biologically-assigned roles or the means to do so. If there is another animal so capable of mastering itself so, please enlighten me.

It is human nature to want to understand and control the world around us beginning with our own bodies. Why? I'm sure there are several reasons but self-preservation is the first and most obvious answer. We all want better lives and taking charge of our bodies and our environment is the way to do it. 

In other words, we've been "playing God" since the beginning of our species and doing so with a great deal of success.

While there are many who wring their hands in desperation and look to heaven with chagrin any time someone mentions us "playing God," we should remember that we all do so. The food we eat was artificially bred to suit us. The medicines we take were developed to extend our lives or ease discomfort. The clothes we wear are made to suit both our need for shelter and to feed our egos. No person living in the modern, developed world is immune or exempt. We're all playing God by struggling to become masters of our domain.

But all is not well in paradise. Since our early days, there have been many among us who decided that the best way to become a master of their own interests was to enslave others - especially those who were different. This basic concept is at the root of so much tribalism, racial tension, religious wars, and gender inequality (yes, there are places where women rule the roost and men better keep their mouths shut). 

Of the problems listed above, I want to apply this to the "War on Women" that we're having now. When you boil it all down, there are some people (men and women) who are promoting the idea that men should be the masters of their biology and women must remain enslaved to their biology. That's what this whole forced-birth, anti-contraception mess is really about. It's about going back to the "good ole days" when boys were boys and ladies were the guardian of the gate. It's about seeing men who enjoy sex as "studs" and women who enjoy sex as "sluts." It's about letting men freely exercise their rights to bodily autonomy while telling women that they must be protected from the consequences of their bad decisions. 

It is the re-enslavement of women to their biology, a disgusting double-standard that we should not even be having to talk about in 21st century America.

If you want to know how this looks, take a look over into Muslim countries like Somalia and Saudi Arabia. They are slowly, so slowly, trying to climb out of this enslavement culture but it's firmly entrenched. Women must cover up their bodies because, dammit, those men just can't (and shouldn't have to) help themselves. Women should never show themselves because, after all, that's just a temptation. They're only good for fucking anyway, right?

Wrong. Women are human beings with the same natural rights to be master of their bodies as men have. By what right do these people demand that we surrender our self-mastery to anyone else? By what authority do they dare to suggest that we are too foolish, weak, emotional, helpless, or ignorant to make decisions for themselves?

There is no just cause for these brutal assaults on women's rights. There is no excuse for this attempt to re-enslave women to their biology - to make us nothing more than brood mares for the state. And there is no way in hell that we are going to give up this fight for freedom and justice. 

Men and women who value equality and believe in the American principle of liberty must join together now and rise up against this atrocity. Every where a bill pops up or the enslavement of women is promoted, we must be there with fire in our bellies and rage in our eyes. When politicians priss and preen about, touting their enslavement laws, men must fight back and say, "Not our mothers! Not our wives! Not our daughters!" And women must stand up too, not in the back lines but in the very front, calling down all the curses and condemnation due a tyrant who seeks to suppress another human being.

Thomas Jefferson made a famous remark about a "tree of liberty" and the "blood of patriots and tyrants." I submit to you that we women are well acquainted with bloodshed. We enter the world in blood, we give birth and blood, and all too often, we die in blood. We will not go back into servitude. We will not accept the chains of biology. We are Americans and we will fight with every drop of our blood for right to be masters (or indeed mistresses) of ourselves.