We have long known that many of the people who want to make good women into criminals care more about power than they do about life. But in the past months they have removed any masks of civility. Their attacks on women are naked and elemental and brutal. They make no distinction between the 60-year-old woman who needs a mammogram and the 28-year-old woman who needs an abortion. It feels like hatred of women at every level of society.
This is either a show of force by those who will dominate our future, or the death rattle of a patriarchal system that has controlled and harmed women and children and men and the planet for 10,000 years. Fifty years from now, what will be the story of this time?
We know that whether people call themselves pro-choice or pro-life, women need abortions and always will. We know that there is no place on the planet where restrictive laws eliminate abortion—such laws only make abortion illegal and often lethal. And we know that there are hundreds of ways to lessen the need for abortion, starting with simply respecting women and making a space for us to respect ourselves. Respecting women is a key to healing many of the ills of this troubled world.
Many have accurately seen that there is a War on Women. But the word “war” suggests two armed sides in a conflict. Women are unarmed. We are not fighting for territory or wealth or power. The conflict is over something much more important. This is a conflict over the very question of the value of women as full human beings with rights to freedom and self-determination and respect. We have seen and heard dozens of quotes from politicians that tell us loud and clear that they consider women to be something like inferior objects of prey, or dangerous temptresses—somehow unsavory, and not quite fully human. And we know that every war on women is also a war on children because the fates and well being of children are almost always inextricably linked to the fates and well being of mothers.
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In times like these we need to find our inner Shero. It is crucial for us to help each other find our courage and our vision of the world, as we would like it to be. And then start from there and move backward to see who we need to be and what we need to do to make that world a reality. Although we know there is no one riding in on a white horse to rescue us, we DO need supersheros! And you can have one of your very own to wear.
Every t-shirt is accompanied by a very simple statement about the War on Women, so when you wear a Stop the War on Women t-shirt to the grocery store, you will be prepared to answer questions about it and tell everyone how to get one of their own.
I am not suggesting martyrdom. Women have surely had enough of that. I am suggesting that we remember the Supershero within each of us. We experience our Supershero selves:
- When we stand up for what we believe in spite of the costs.
- When we speak out and break the silence created by thousands of years of shame and stigmatization of all things female.
- When we encourage another woman or a supportive man to stand up for themselves and others.
- When we allow ourselves to imagine how the world could be—and then act as if it were already that way.
- When we use humor and power and intelligence and networking and guts and risking to say no to what doesn’t nurture us—and to become right now the women we always dreamed of becoming.
I believe the Abortion Care Network Supershero is an inspiration—an image that we have needed to help us channel the anger and frustration we naturally feel when politicians want to control our lives. As we spread her image we will be lighting an unquenchable fire within millions of women and men who have been waiting for a sign. There is only this moment right now to light that fire and take back the world. There is only now.