It seems like there’s one thing many parts of the world have in common, regardless of country, wealth, religion, or race: women’s conduct.
A woman’s conduct from the way she dresses to what she’s allowed to do with her body; the ongoing trend of the centuries is policing a woman and her decisions.
Just a few weeks ago, a Texas law mandating hospital grade surgical tools at abortion clinics was upheld by a federal appellate court, forcing 13 abortion clinics to close down immediately. Many argued that “requiring abortion clinics to meet the same architectural, plumbing, staffing, training and other requirements that apply to surgical centers was costly and unnecessary.”
The closing of abortion clinics under this provision of the harsh Texan law isn’t for the well-being of women as it is disguised to present, rather it’s a loophole that directly places strain on a woman’s right to choose whether she wants to have an abortion. Attempting to make these clinics “safer” by requiring a list of things the clinic has to meet does not make women safer, in actuality, it puts women’s health at risk.
From Texan laws that hope to make abortion something of the past (but, what about Roe v. Wade?!) to societal pressures on women’s dress, women are always at the forefront of things, important things, being decided for them. If not directly, certainly pressurized indirectly.
Societal pressures and norms in America pushes many women to extremes in dealing with those pressures. From the beauty industry to the diet industry, women are the targets of corporate manipulation who play on the insecurities of women in hopes of gaining profit.
“Lose 10 pounds in a week!”
“How to get the perfect body!”
This ends up becoming a culture, a booming one at that, that emulates the already passive-aggressive attacks on women’s bodies. This passive-aggression in magazines has morphed into something much larger. It’s okay to critique a woman’s body and her dress (Fashion Police, anyone?), it’s okay for men to harass a woman on the street because it isn’t the man’s fault, oh God no, it’s the woman’s fault for how she’s dressed.
Too much skin and it’s provocative, whispers of “she’s a slut”; too little skin and it’s ghastly, whispers of “she’s prude.”
This acceptance of clothing dictating how valuable a woman is plays a large part in rape culture, or the deliberate normalization of rape that ends up blaming the woman (even a little girl) instead of the male rapist. I can’t count the amount of times a rape case has questioned the woman, asking things like, “well, what was she wearing” or “why was she there after dark”, etc.
This is dangerous, for very obvious reasons. It pins blame on women, excusing the male who exerts his control and power over a woman. Rape is seldom about sexual pleasure, but rather the control and power over a perceived weak person (i.e. a weak woman). Perhaps worse than blaming the woman who has been raped, some states in the U.S. have adopted policies where even in circumstances of rape and incest, a woman still cannot obtain an abortion. How’s that for control?
In Michigan, women who want to be covered for an abortion, should they choose to have one or were unfortunate victims of rape, would have to preemptively buy into an additional insurance plan that would pay for an abortion. Yes, you read that right. Women have to now anticipate that one day they will be raped, therefore they should buy into an extra insurance plan that will cover the costs for it.
Going even further: “Women who buy their own individual policies, rather than getting coverage through an employer-based plan, won’t be able to purchase the additional coverage, called an abortion rider, from Michigan insurers.” How’s that for control?