Thoughts on Women's Rights and Lola Kirke

The Problem with Women’s Rights

I recently had my first public Facebook confrontation. I posted the above picture of Lola Kirke at the Golden Globes. It had gotten a ton of attention because Ms. Kirke chose to wear a strapless dress and dared NOT to shave her armpits. Later I learned that she even got death threats for doing such a “hideous” thing: using her star status to let people know she’s a real woman. To make matters worse, she had worn a pin on her dress as a commentary on what she felt about Paul Ryan and his efforts to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. When I shared the story, I said that I was sad that the headline was focusing on the body hair instead of her political standpoint on Women’s Rights. The comments started raining in.

I’m always open to listening and having an open conversation with anyone. However, what surprised me was that lots of people jumped in to attack Planned Parenthood and turn the conversation to abortion. And it was not only abortion, but “partial-birth” abortion. Also, the most staunch and confrontational about this point were men. This made me seriously consider: why do men have a say on our reproductive rights?

If a couple gets pregnant, the man has the choice to stay or go. As a woman, you have no option. That baby is going to grow in her and be part of her and her life; regardless if she choses to keep the baby or not. Taking in consideration the length of time and the social stigma that being a single mother brings, it is not surprising that lots of women and girls chose to terminate pregnancy. And that’s in a case where rape or violence is not involved.

Women’s Rights and Inequality

Many men could think that it is unfair to talk about Women’s Rights. Is there such a thing about Men’s Rights? The truth is that even if the world’s female population is 49.6%, and 50.4% in the US according to the World Bank, in governmental representation we’re a minority in this country. According to Rutgers, in 2015 only 19.4% of congress were women — 20% in the senate, 19.4% in the House of Representatives. There’s also a huge wage gap between women and men worldwide. If we compound on top of that the fact that mothers are subject to double standards in the workplace (in most career paths, at least), then the gap becomes bigger and the opportunities lower. So, is it that incomprehensible for some men that women want to have access and options to decide what to do with their bodies and their lives?

Rape and violence against women is also a worldwide problem. If a man abuses a woman and she ends up pregnant, isn’t it just common sense that she doesn’t want to be reminded of such action for 9 months and a baby? Each case where abortion is contemplated is unique and has its own story. It is not fair to treat and shame anyone for their decision. When abortion is not possible in the first trimester, there are many circumstances that need to be considered. It should be up to the physician and the woman to decide the best course of action. Not for anyone else.

On Planned Parenthood

Coming back to Planned Parenthood, what they do as an organization is to provide free health access to Women’s care. This involves sexual education and access to contraceptives, testing for std’s, pap smears, mammograms, pregnancy services and also abortion. Cutting funding for Planned Parenthood will leave thousands, if not millions, without access to care. As health care is not a social service in this country, what will happen to all those women and couples who will have nowhere to go?

And if people have no access to contraception, there will be a higher need for abortion. This is what conservatives and republicans are against… so, what is the option they give? I don’t understand the logic behind de-funding an organization that does what the government should do. If this administration gets rid of Obamacare too, where does that leave the poorest and most unprotected people in our society?

A Broken System

Wealth inequality in this country is on the rise, and the poorest families (about 10% of the population) are now not accumulating wealth but debt. Putting further financial burden on the poorest families cutting access to contraceptives and education services will make matters worse for everyone. The fact that some people, due to their religious believes or their personal interests, can’t see the problem is staggering. That’s why, in closing, I’m really stunned that the media and the people focused on criticizing Ms. Kirke’s choice. Honestly, by not shaving her pits she vehemently demonstrated how broken the whole system is in regards to how people perceive women’s rights.