Chastity belts in a variety of colours and styles.

Throughout history, fashion has been used in subtle ways restrict women; high heels making it hard to walk, skirts to impede our stride, corsets to restrict out breathing. Media then reinforced the necessity of these fashion to be a proper Lady, as well as the necessity of being a Lady. Over time, Women have risen above these restrictions. We’ve ditched the corsets, skirts are optional, Stilettos are a symbol of a powerful woman and, potentially, a weapon.

So the patriarchy has become less subtle in their attempts to control women.

In Afghanistan, women are now required to wear a full Burqa in public. They are covered head to toe and can only see out through a small slit. Not that there’s much opportunity for them to go out in public, as they are forbidden from travelling long distances alone, can only work in healthcare or education, and are banned from pursuing secondary education (which will soon limit the jobs they can get). The purpose of the burqa is to cover the female form so men are not inflamed with lust. Sounds like a ‘Him’ problem to me. And a more efficient solution would be to blindfold all the men, They wouldn’t be able to see the women and they would save so much on fabric. As many men refuse to see the changes in the world around them, the blindfold wouldn’t really make a difference to them.

The new fashion accessory in the US is likely to be the Chastity Belt. The leaked Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V Wade is possibly the most frightening news I’ve ever heard and I’ve lived through a global Pandemic and Vladimir Putin threatening to rain nuclear missiles on London if BoJo gets too uppity.

There is a Staggering level of wilful Ignorance amongst Republican Lawmakers in the US. Ignorance and Tunnel Vision. The Child must be born, that’s the only goal. They are Pro-Birth, not Pro-life, because they make no provisions for the child’s actual life. Heathcare, childcare, education, food, clothes, shelter; that’s all for the mother to sort out, whether she wanted the child or not. Most of the Abortion Bans that are waiting in the wings for the official defeat of Roe V Wade make no exceptions for Rape, Incest, or Medical Necessity. These laws have been written by (mostly) men with no medical education, no experience with trauma or PTSD, and no idea what it means to be raped.

Things American Elected officials have said:

“If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.” Congressman Todd Akin, 2012, referring to pregnancy resulting from rape.

“Having three daughters, I tell my daughters, ‘Well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it’,” RJ Regan, republican Candidate in Michigan, 2022.

“It is a shame that it happens, but there’s an opportunity for that woman – no matter how young or old she is – to make a determination about what she’s going to do to help that life be a productive human being … That child can grow up and be something magnificent, a wonderful family person, cure cancer, etc.” Ohio State Representative Jean Schmidt, 2022.

When a woman is raped, her consent has been negated, she has no choice in what is happening to her. If Abortion is Banned in the US, that will be the government raping every woman in the country, because they will have taken away her choice as to what happens with her body.

And let’s look at the consequences of an abortion ban. First, it’s impossible to ban abortion, you can only ban SAFE abortion. So expect to see a rise in deaths among young, otherwise healthy women. Also a rise in infertility as women who get a back alley abortion are more likely to suffer an infection or damage to the womb.

For the women who go through with the pregnancy and keep the baby, they will likely live in poverty, underemployment with little prospect of career progression. Thankfully, we are past the times when being a Single Mother carried a social stigma. Sadly, we are not past the social stigma of poverty.

If the woman chooses to give up the child, there’s no certainty there either. The social care systems are already overwhelmed. I always wonder how many of the self-righteous warriors harassing abortion clinics are also foster parents. I’m guessing, not many.

Throw in the cost of living crisis, and it looks like “Keep them barefoot and Pregnant” is the actual republican policy.

Another thing about the overthrow of a woman’s right to choose, a woman’s right to decide what happens to her own body, is if they take this away, what’s next? All the recent Supreme Court appointees have said Roe was settled law. Until it wasn’t. Any other rights gained in the last 50 -100 years are now uncertain. Gay marriage? Hate crime protections for LGBTQ+? Trans rights? Domestic violence laws? Right to Vote? When they take away a woman’s right to her own bodily autonomy, is it that big a leap to take away everyone’s right to their own body. Forced sterilisation? Forced impregnation?

In the UK, it’s women versus the police. When police broke up a vigil last summer for Sarah Everard (who was kidnapped and killed by a policeman), they were deemed to have used excessive force. The ruling was upheld on appeal. The Police are appealing the decision again. Who protects the women from the police? If we defy the cops, they arrest us. If we go with them, they might kill us.

I wonder, do the men realise that their time in charge is nearly over? Is that why they’re doing all this? Because women don’t need to marry anymore. We can get jobs, have careers, have a social life, own homes, all without men being involved. What men do provide, well, we have appliances for that. I’ve got a gadget for opening jars and a stool for getting things off the high shelf. Women clearly need to do for themselves. We don’t need men anymore. We can choose them, if we want to.

They want to take away women’s choices, because they are afraid we won’t choose them.

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