"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Saturday, March 3, 2012

In Praise of Men who Shut Up

I try not to favor people because of their gender. I find gender identity remarkable in a basically positive way, but I do not regard gender as a virtue. I see gender as…well, gender. And while I know I am sometimes guilty of chauvinism, I like to think I do a good job of reining it in and apologizing when needed. Furthermore, I am fortunate to know many men and women who afford me the same courtesy. That being disclaimed, I feel like putting in my two cents on a current hot topic.

I sincerely hope that the day comes when no woman ever finds herself at the mercy of a doctor, insurer, employer, prelate or politician who feels himself empowered to deny healthcare for reasons that at their core are non-medical—objections that stem unmistakably from male-dominated religious traditions in which women have effectively been told to just be quiet. It is weeks like this one that remind me I live in a country that took 132 years to guarantee women the right to vote.

This is just my two cents. And maybe it’s not even worth that to some people. Still, if there was even a sliver of doubt on how I plan to vote in the upcoming general election, that doubt is now gone. Just as I do not think any other person, including a future spouse, should have the final say on whether or not I get a vasectomy, I regard a woman’s reproductive healthcare as none of my damn business—unless she is being willfully denied reasonable access to that care.

Now for a photo that, by virtue of its depicting healthy modern values, seems at least peripherally relevant to the above remarks. I'm posting it because I should not have had to think twice about it, but did:

The above photo was obtained with a standard license from www.istockphoto.com