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This is the New Front in the Battle to Control Women’s Bodies


This is the New Front in the Battle to Control Women’s Bodies

Laurie Penny

For several weeks, YouTube has been reminding me to hurry up and have a baby. In a moment of guilt over all the newspapers I read online for free, I turned off my ad-blocking software and now I can’t play a simple death metal album without having to sit through 30 seconds of sensible women with long, soft hair trying to sell me pregnancy tests. I half expect one of them to tap her watch and remind me that I shouldn’t be wasting my best fertile years writing about socialism on the internet.


"Men’s sexual and reproductive health is never subject to this sort of policing. In South America, where the zika virus is suspected of having caused thousands of birth defects, women are being advised not to “get pregnant”. This is couched in language that gives women all of the blame and none of the control."

"So all females capable of conceiving should treat themselves and be treated by the health system as “pre-pregnant” – regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant any time soon, or whether they have sex with men in the first place. Boys will be boys, after all, so women ought to take precautions: think of it as rape insurance."

Great commentary, Ms. Penny. So few men who self-identify as Progressive or Leftist care much about this issue, women's rights, or the particulars of what it means to BE a woman in not just patriarchal society; but patriarchal society that in the U.S., Latin and Central America, and the Arab world is beefed up by religious delusions that grant males utter control over women AND their bodies.

They just want to talk about economics and/or the class struggle.


This is brilliant and on the mark! It also reflects the experience of many within the Black community. They need to call the police for real disturbances and threats to their lives, but the police too often AMPLIFY that threat by showing casual violence that seldom obtains redress. And the system itself (as Chris Hedges recently laid out) is so far FROM justice as to mock the very premise, substantially.

It does come down to "who guards the guards"? And what do these armed guards protect, and upon whose command:

"Imagine that he routinely reminded your friend that her potential to create life was more important than the life she was living, denied her access to medical care and threatened to lock her up if she miscarried. You would be telling your friend to get the hell out of that abusive relationship. You would be calling around the local shelters to find her an emergency refuge. But there is no refuge for a woman when the basic apparatus of power in her country is abusive. When society puts social control above women’s autonomy, there is nowhere for them to escape."

Perhaps when someone like Laurie Penny lays out how POWER operates, the usual dingoes who attack me for questioning the WE frame based upon the quintessential lie that posits that victims and victimizers, owners and work-slaves are essentially one in the same... will at last understand WHY that frame is false, deceptive, and dangerous.

It is the perfect cover for those who intend to escape accountability.


Excellent. I remember a comedian called Geraldine Doyle in Australia years ago who suggested giving men a "golden balls" award if they had not impregnated a woman unless she wanted to be at that time.


On a linguistic note - what Ms. Penny calls the "tomato sauce" which is marketed to her (male) main squeeze is what we over here call "ketchup".


Remember that a lot of women voted these fools in office. Also remember that most of these men are married to women. Laura and George Bush. Barbara and George Bush Sr. Nancy and Ronal Reagan. Ted Cruz and Heidi. Women need to work on these women before anything. If you can't control the members of your own sex you will have a hard time controlling the opposite sex.


I can't wait to read what SR1 has to say to your comment, George, but she is the least likely person commenting here to be interested in controlling anybody, especially women, and I stand with her on that. She appears to be heavily invested in tearing down patriarchy, and rightly so IMO--the opposite of control. Your example actually builds the argument to vanquish patriarchy: why do so many people, both men and women, vote against their interests?


Really??? From my perspective, her self-granted entitlement to dictate how we may - and may not - use the pronoun "we" is very controlling.

That's not necessarily a given, is it? After all, as bell hooks so aptly put it:

Since men are not equals in white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal class structure, which men do women want to be equal to?


You are being sarcastic, aren't you?


I dunno, dude...men haven't seemed to need to utilize much self- control, or control over other men in order to control women. maybe only the individual can decide for him or her own self who will be in control.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


You show a very immature understanding of how POWER operates.

There's a new book out (I can't recall the author but I heard her on PBS) that asserts that the most dangerous place for women in America are their own homes.

Very nice-seeming men (often they have professional positions) abuse their wives.

One major mantra of the Christian Evangelical movement is that women should SUBMIT to their husbands. The idea is that god is a guy, and the next in line to "get the authority ball" is the priest/preacher/pastor, and after that, it goes to the father, HEAD of the family.

Women also tend to be smaller. Most earn less than men, be it their partners or generic male counterparts.

So this idea that women have an equal capacity to influence, direct, dominate, control, or punish their male partners is a friggin bad joke.

I am so tired of fools!


Thank you for the sensitive comment.

I think some of the people PAID to post here like to just plain bait me when there's not much else going on.

Actually, it now seems that you, George, Patchwork Quilt and the always odious Yunzer (who can't forgive me for exposing his use of 3 other screen names and his stated job of engineer when the only thing he appears to be engineering is OPINIONS given his pervasive presence in these threads... along with his robust defense of U.S. govt. interests in preserving the LIES about 911) are all part of the Sting.

Pretend leftists who have as much understanding of gender rights as they do about anything outside of a set of daily repeated Talking Points.

Disgusting closet misogynists decide to judge me on the basis of their own flawed projections and limited understanding rather than discuss the substance of this important articles.

If your penises were on the line--either with NO funding for Viagra or no access to sex or birth control, you'd cry like babies.

Always the clowns take cover for one another while taking aim at the Feminists.

I suffer this legion of fools in order to get messages out that some do value. Of course, they are way over not just your heads... but your entire Consciousness Capacities.


Look this up on u-tube. PsychoSuperMom.com. I didn't come from your rib you came from my vagina. Funny song. You need a good laugh. Pass it on.


Well, there it is: a "SR Hate Burger," with a "side" of vitriolic lies.

Waddaya think? Is it what you were hoping for? Did it "elevate the discourse" for you?

One gets used being on the receiving end, BTW: The nut is unhinged again, and it's raining. What are ya gonna do?

I used to be married to someone who fell into a similar pattern of "lashing out." In her case, the cause was paranoid schizophrenia. (No diagnosis or imputation re. SR here - like she would, BTW - but an observation of similar behaviors. I have no clue what would ameliorate her anger issues.

What I do know is that when she "gets like that," she is illogical, irrational, out of control and hateful. In a civil discussion forum, that's pollution.


I respect SR1's anger and her persistence in seeking to change very deep-seated frames instilled by US society. None of us likes having our frames challenged. SR has principles and she sticks to them, although I don't necessarily agree with the style in which she does it. I've been on the receiving end of SR's comments and she can sting, but she can also take as good as she gives. I've come to the conclusion that SR1 can be frustrating to deal with, but she enriches these comments and expands the debate about what kind of society we (yes all of us) want to live in.

Further, when I write, I always think to myself what would SR1 say to this. She sets a very high bar, and I don't like feeling her bite anymore than anybody else does. Her consistency has made me a better thinker and writer, and I've come to think of her as the pseudo-conscience of these pages. I'll grant you that she can be extremely irritating at times, but she has earned my respect not only for her dogged determination against patriarchy, but for her principled stands on matters of social and economic justice.


Thank you for your response. (It would not surprise me to learn that there are those here who are afraid to do that.)

Your defense of your mentor is worthy of respect, and you have mine. I imagine we agree about most other topics more than we do about this one. I will address a few of your points, though:

So do I.

None more than SR, to all appearences...

If you say so. I haven't seen that. But about what she gives: Most of the time, it's quite good. Sometimes, though, it simply isn't. For those times, I have this problem: I've been trying for decades to learn to be better than that. Sure, I could "give" on that level. I don't want to. And I find it really disappointing that she does.

Perilously close to "control," isn't it?

When she does, she does. When she doesn't, though, that bar goes in the gutter.

Your call. My pseudo-conscience does not get to deliberately misinterpret - twice (1, 2) - the words of a leftist stalwart (Naomi Klein), bash her for those misconstrued meanings, and "shoot the messenger" with fabricated ad hominems while failing to refute the arguments. (Still painfully idealistic in my old age, I suppose.)

Anyway, I appreciate the insult-free reply.