Warning. It’s about to get real female in here.
So. Game of Thrones. It spent eight seasons teasing us about women gaining power and wielding it as good as any dime store cowboy doing meth and saying cool things about life and love. Can you feel the sarcastic rage waves about to hit the quivering shores? Mmm.
Now lately, in GOT, in the last span of episodes, we get a sudden mad queen. Mad in the sense that Dany [Daenyrus Targaryon] has gone coo coo for coco puffs. Mad as a hatter. Cray cray. Loco in the head area. This is why we watched for eight fucking seasons? To watch Dany lose her marbles when everything she’s worked for doesn’t quite turn out as she wanted it to…? Um? The loss of two of her dragons didn’t really seem to slow her forward momentum down. She’s…uh. Women with power! THEY CAN’T HANDLE IT. That’s the message we’re left with? Really? Really???
Cersei, this bad ass ice cold plotter/schemer mastermind queen lady…sobbing and afraid and wanting hugs? From the man she’d sent Bronn to kill not two episodes earlier or so?? Uh? Who the fuck is writing this shit?? Why are you writing this shit? Is it to ruin a show so many fans loved, adored, followed no matter what and loved loved loved?? Because of the complex characters moving through complex storylines that amazed, delighted, horrified and entertained for EIGHT FUCKING SEASONS? Was the end game goal here to…?
We have the male characters standing around looking on in male wonder at the female characters acting…like women are expected to act when handed any sort of power or destiny that normally goes to some male. The women implode. They go crazy. They lose their shit. They can’t handle it. They…mmm. Hillary was too old. She was sick all the time. She’ll have melt downs in the Oval Office. [Because we gals are just so emotional]
Jon Snow [whatever legitimate male heir to everything Dany thought was hers but oh no, let’s bring in the boring bland guy who can swing a sword and most importantly, can swing a dick around. Why be coy now?] looks on and everyone starts to think, hey. Jon should be king because he’s stable and nice and has a penis. Penis-holders make the best rulers because they don’t have emotions or vaginas.
Am I being a wee bit silly or caustically bitter? Eh.
Let’s move on to the Offred portion of my actual feminist ranty rant, shall we?
Offred, in case you were wondering, is the main character in Margaret Atwood’s now infamous work called the…HANDMAID’S TALE. She is played by Elizabeth Moss, of Mad Men fame. Moss has now played two rather iconic feminist roles—that of Peggy who went from secretary of Don Draper, to Peggy Olson, ad writing wunderkind. Quite a giant arc for Peggy, if you’ve not seen Mad Men. [What are you waiting for?? Jon Hamm. 60’s sexism. Go and get it, tiger.]
The other iconic and rather timely role Moss plays is that of Offred. She is a handmaid, which means…she’s a breeder for her country. A forced breeding bit of livestock. She lives in the house of a commander and his omg horrorshow of a wife, where on Offred’s fertile days she gets to lay between the legs of the wife, who watches, ahem…as her own husband attempts to fertilize the handmaid with his holy seed. Those scenes are just about unwatchable. You’re watching a woman endure a state-sanctioned rape. Offred or Of-Fred, because the handmaid’s don’t have their own names…lays there holding hands with the wife as hubby gets it on down below in one of the more twisted parodies of…duty. A woman’s only duty is to bear a child or children. If she can’t do that, she works in the house or she indoctrinates the next wave of handmaids or she might even be ‘lucky’ enough to be a wife.
Some sort of disease attacked fertility rates. Hardly anyone was having babies. Or the babies died.
So! Why am I meandering in Handmaid’s Tale territory? Ah. Been paying attention lately? To some of the states in the US of A? Like Ohio? Or Georgia? Alabama? What’s that? Fetal heartbeat bills galore. None of them are constitutionally valid but…this is a giant frenzied push to get a case before, wait for it, the now-conservative heavy Supreme Court. With the very rabid pro-life nutfuck Brett Kavakunt on there now for life. Life. As long as he wishes to remain unless somehow he gets impeached and removed.
All because people couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton. Because. Um. We’d be at war now and her emails and she’s too emotional and yet she’s cold and mean and…um. Sigh. And the DNC. And she took corporate money. And. Sigh.
She actually knows what a tariff is. She can find Syria on a map. She’s overly qualified for POTUS but hey. She’d have probably broken a hip and died of the vapors a month after being elected. Cause, women. Weak! She’d have torched King’s Landing, er, DC.
Where was I? Abortions. Yep. Here we go. If you don’t like abortions? Don’t get one. There. Solved it. Done! Over! World peace, let’s do this!
Yeah, it really is that simple. Stop legislating women like we’re cattle. We’re not cows or horses or pigs or goats or sheep or…livestock like the Bible says or society says or…yeah. We’re humans. Complex, messy, contradictory, blah blah blah. Why does that even have to be said at all?? Why do women constantly have to defend their own fucking humanity and autonomy even in the supposed land of the free and the home of the brave? When does that fight get over and done with? Cause it’s exhausting.
My mother died of cancer-related causes. I took her to the emergency room because she was bleeding uncontrollably, soaking through towels. Menstrual blood. She had not had a period since her thirties. This was in her fifties. They had to perform a D and C to get it stopped. Now, under draconian anti-woman laws…they might have had to let her keep bleeding or face 99 years in prison.[ Oregon has no laws that go after abortion in any way. I think we’re the only state left that hasn’t tried to end or restrict abortion rights]
My mother, a nurse, brought up in an era where women didn’t talk about ‘that stuff’ had her life shortened considerably. She thought her period ending when she was thirty eight or so was normal. I thought she’d had a hysterectomy. Nope. She also had a stillbirth. She nearly died giving birth to me. My brother was a c-section. She had a rather troubling reproductive history yet…she, a nurse, didn’t monitor herself because. Because women are taught our parts are icky or our pain, bleeding, symptoms are to be ignored or endured. We’re not taken seriously about our women’s curses. The woman’s curse. One of the names applied. As if being female drew some actual magical condemnation down from heaven itself.
Read that link for curse of women if you want your hair curled and your eyebrows to fly off your face. This wasn’t written hundreds of years ago. Tell me again there’s no war on women. Go ahead. I fucking dare you.
It was discovered she had cancer. A year after that she was dead.
And it was me who had to make a decision about how much longer to keep her on life support.
This is why I am paying attention, lots of it, to this recent [since the 70’s until now, but recently it’s been ramped up to a billion zillion] anti-abortion craze sweeping my country. Because it’s dangerous. It’s going to get women killed. Not just desperate pregnant women seeking any means legal or illegal to not be pregnant any more but people in general cut off from low-cost clinics that screen for things like cancer or STI’s or diseases like HIV or Hep C or…mm. Because Planned Parenthood provides low-cost health care for reproductive needs, such as cancer screenings, pap smears, breast exams, neonatal care and testing, etc. Yes, PP helps pregnant women get the neonatal care they need that normally is priced far out of range of a lot of people. Such as the twenty week testing for problems or monitoring the health of the body around that growing baby. Such as high blood pressure. America’s maternal death rate is climbing. Going up.
American women in a lot of places will now or are already like Offred. No choices at all. They will have to rebel in ways that won’t get them jailed or killed outright. This is a democracy? This is a modern industrialized country? The laws are being made by men who have the vaguest knowledge, if any knowledge, of women’s bodies. None of them are OB/GYN sorts, that I know of. None of them seem to know what birth control is or the types available. Everything causes abortion seems to be their hot take. The new laws about to hit this summer seem to think women should not only not have abortions but have to pay out of pocket for any slight reproductive care or health concerns. Cutting off insurance coverage seems to make these law makers giddy as drunken rats.
Cutting off insurance coverage of things like ectopic pregnancy care. Some Ohio lawmaker said you can transplant that ectopic pregnancy baby to the woman’s womb and presto bango, another child saved from the horrors of the liberal gay agenda. Um, doctors and nurses weighed in with: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. As that is just not possible or feasible. Ectopic pregnancies threaten the life of the mother and if not taken care of, will kill her. So this Ohio idiot, who’s writing laws against abortion the same way you might write a shopping list, doesn’t seem to even understand what birth control is, either. I’m not smart enough, was his actual reply when asked about what was actually in his bill. Mm.
So, you experience an ectopic pregnancy in Ohio, you’re not only potentially facing an end of your life but possibly a bankruptcy when you can’t pay the medical bills. That’s if you can find a hospital that will give you the care you actually need. As many hospitals are owned by the Catholic church which is notoriously ‘let that bitch die’ about women and their lower half.
You might have to sell your house or go be a stripper to pay off medical expenses. Stripper or mom seems to be the only real careers left anymore for American women. So, hey, on ectopic pregnancies and other female ‘down there’ medical emergencies– two options, ladies in Ohio and lots of others places. Have that time bomb explode in your lower half and you bleed to death or face the ER with a handful of credit cards you hope still have some money on them.
Oh and also? Birth control is also being crowded out or banned or people [men mostly] make damn sure insurance companies will not cover it.
Yeah, there’s no fucking war on women?? LOL. Conservatives love women! Love em!
There’s also the exceptions for rape or incest thrown like an awful bone into these anti-women anti-reality bills. Women have to qualify to get the care they want. They have to already be traumatized and punished, have that advertised all over, face it again, again, again to…have any say in their own care. They have to arrive shamed and humiliated and battered. They have to have run a gauntlet to win the ‘abortion for you but not that slutty whore over there’, um, prize. And it’s not a given that because you were raped or were a victim of incest that you will win that abortion prize. You really have to have SUFFERED to win enough approval from a panel of strangers deciding your case. Police reports filed, perhaps. Trauma must be VISIBLE and tangible enough to warrant others to make this decision for you, my little cow, my darling ewe, my patient little mare.
Because small government. Or something something. Where the government won’t cover anything after-born children or families might need or can’t get access to otherwise…but will force a woman to carry her pregnancy no matter what. Unless she’s been a victim of some sort, then hey, ‘compassion’. However…
Even that one goes away in some places. No exceptions made. None. An eleven year old girl raped and made pregnant…can’t get an abortion because ‘pro-life’ and “Jesus” and some couple can adopt that baby. God allowed that rape so that baby could…
This is when my head actually explodes with how fucking cruel and predatory that is. Rape victims as young as eleven forced to bear offspring for the state so the state can make money selling that baby to affluent childless couples. All while saying this is God’s will and we love babies and…ugh. As potential adopters have to be well enough off to prove they can care for a child. And it doesn’t guarantee that child won’t be abused or neglected. The horror stories here are legion. Adoption isn’t the rainbow connection to Jesus himself or whatever the current thinking that way is. It’s a good thing, yes, but…fraught with things called humans. Who are notoriously faulty when it comes to raising children. Ever wonder why 100% of Western Lit deals with family issues?? Yeah.
It seems the women get left out of this entirely. Little girls, in some cases. An eleven year old is a little girl.
Everyone gets consulted and listened to except women. [ Or hey, medical professionals that deal with reproduction of humans in any way, from conception to birth] If the women, when there are women included in anti-abortion orgies, agree with the men about how no one should ever have an abortion, then hey, she still doesn’t seem to count in this fight at all. Notice that? I do.
Also notice that no one seems to ask actual doctors about any of this. Or nurses. Or midwives. Or anyone medically connected to reproductive care who actually knows what they’re talking about. We don’t hear these voices. We hear the liberals are letting mothers kill babies after they are born. They deliver the baby, then decide with the doctor whether it lives or dies.
No, really. That was amplified at Trump rallies. This is the latest pearl-clutch conservative vote Pavlovian bell go-getter. THEY ARE CHOPPING UP LIVE BABIES SO VOTE TO MAGA. I wish I was kidding about that. I wish. I wish that was part of some weird political comedy starring James Franco and Emma Thompson, coming to a theatre near you this summer. It’s…not.
Doctors and nurses stepped up, just went, nope. Nope, that is not happening. That’s a crime. That’s murder. We do everything we can, even if that baby is dying, to save its life or ensure the comfort of an infant before it passes.
Palliative care. That’s when a child is born with massive problems or is stillborn or in some way isn’t going to make it. That’s when parents might, yes, have to make that ghastly decision about life support and how much more to do or try. I’ve been there, with my own mother. I can imagine a tiny bit of what those parents are facing. It’s so gut-wrenchingly awful. I understand the need to keep the machines hooked up, I get that one. I understand the decision to stop the machines. I get why someone would say that’s enough, let it end. I get that, oh boy, do I get that one.
We need to stop, as a society, as a world, in treating women like they don’t own their own bodies. That women need to be policed and guarded against their own impulses. That women are no more than pets or livestock. Or disposable. That women are more than mad queens or always stuck in some emotional immaturity that never allows them to be…like men. That we are more than our fertility or lack thereof. How do we go about this resetting of truly ancient beliefs seemingly mired and engrained in the bedrock of civilization itself?
You write women characters that reflect that. You draw attention to laws that turn women into property of the state. You march. You talk. You get those pre-Roe V. Wade stories heard—even though the current crop of Jesus freaks don’t care if women die from illegal botched abortions; cruelty and punishment of women is the point of the pro-forced birther movement. Yeah, I fucking said it.
You keep pointing out this or that even when tired or laughed at. Or ridiculed. Or threatened with rape or death or both.
You give more credence to women’s voices in this particular issue than men who don’t even seem to know what girls are, let alone how their fiddly bits work or don’t work.
And you don’t turn the Mother of Dragons into Crazy Cat Lady on a Murder Bender. You don’t take Cersei Don’t Ever Cross Me Lannister and turn her into Weepy Emotional Typical Woman LOL. You don’t betray Sansa’s magnificent arc from spoiled child to actual leader with…ugh. Only Arya sorta survived the total sabotage of female characters on GOT?? Or will she be marrying on the last episode and…fuck me running.
I’ll draw all this to a close with hope. Offred fought back. She found ways to end her servitude. She discovered lights in her total darkness. This, too, shall pass…until the next time the perfect storm of authoritarian fuckery meets religious zealots who turn their ignorant eyes on the womenfolk around them. And the time after that. And after that! Aren’t we tired of being Under His Eye, my fellow humans?
Wow. An actual feminist rant. Go me.