06 April 2012

Anti-choice extremism and SNL's "trans-vaginal airlines"

It seems nothing short of absurd that in 2012, citizens of the United States are, as of late, experiencing right-wing attacks on women's rights—reproductive and otherwise. In this post I want to show how and why these issues on the GOP platform are not really "issues" at all, especially for anyone with an informed, rational and realistic understanding of certain present-day social circumstances.

I'd like to share a phenomenal (and impressively extensive) GlobalComment article posted on 2 April. The article, entitled The Trans-Vaginal Ultrasounds You Didn't Hear About: Ignoring Anti-Choice Extremism in Texas, focuses on legislation in Texas and Virginia that requires superfluous, unnecessary and most often involuntary trans-vaginal ultrasounds prior to receiving an abortion. It boils down to forceful conservative moralizing through legislation—bullshit, basically. I should say that parts of the article might seem a bit dense, but it is well worth the time investment.

Also, as is mentioned in the article, be sure to check out this recent Saturday Night Live segment that features Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers responding to right-wing attacks on birth control and women's reproductive rights. Poehler pokes fun at the ridiculousness of forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds with a "trans-vaginal airlines" joke, and the segment also points out that no women were present at a recent congressional hearing about contraception. It's a pretty humorous piece with serious sociopolitical undertones. But, on a more serious note, let's be frank: the very unfortunate fact that this congressional hearing consisted exclusively of men (almost certainly wealthy, white, heterosexual, "Christian" men in particular), raises a hugely important question. Can we agree that such a "congressional hearing about contraception" was completely absurd in the first place? In the 21st century, contraception—and an individual's decision to use it or not to use it—are not issues. Period. And they absolutely should not be matters of congressional concern. Yet even worse, not a single woman or female-identifying person was present. Maybe I'm foolish for thinking that the American political system has to have at least some room for rational, realistic discourse, but such discourse was clearly missing from this hearing—this good ol' boy gathering.

I intend to write more on this subject soon. For now, though, I'll return to the SNL segment. The best part might just be the end, when Poehler comically and commandingly shouts, "Don't tell me what to do!" Kudos to Poehler for saying what any reasonable human being ought to shout in the face of conservative bigotry. If only more would follow suit—then, maybe, we would no longer find ourselves stuck in a society that doesn't care to question such irrational, sermonizing nonsense.

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