Rub-Ins: A New Peaceful Protest

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Even though it doesn’t directly affect me, being in a much saner country that’s had a publicly funded health care system for decades that doesn’t get constantly challenged by wealthy misogynists, I’m still outraged by today’s SCOTUS decision that companies can opt out of providing insurance for birth control for women Just Because. Refusing sex with their partners is a means of political protest that cisgender heterosexual women have used before, and it’s appropriate for these circumstances too. But we need to go beyond that. It’s not enough anymore. We need to assert power over our own bodies by enjoying ourselves sexually in spite of all the ways patriarchal puritanism has tried to suppress it.

I’m going to stop getting into details there, because I’m not so brave to turn it into feminist erotica tweet by tweet on a weekday. We need to throw respectability politics out the window – especially since this will disproportionately affect women who make less money, and so uninsured birth control takes a disproportionate toll on their budget, and who may not have as many options for employment as women who try to enforce “respectability politics” – white cisgender heterosexual high earning women. Employees of Hobby Lobby, which I never fucking heard of before this bullshit (because, fortunately, I don’t think they’ve trekked north of 49), are likely to fall outside of these parameters by one measure or more.

A power that cisgender women who are affected by this decision have is the complexity of sexual stimulation in our genitalia. Some women can stimulate themselves by crossing their legs and moving around in a sitting position. We have a wider range of toys we can use. We can go up the skirt or down the pants without exposing ourselves, if we want to reduce objectification and the potential for this to be a peep show beneficial to heterosexual men. But let’s reinforce our sexual agency. It demonstrates how it’s in everyone’s interest for women to have access to birth control, stigma-free and without causing financial hardship. Beyond the medical conditions it also treats, women take it because they intend to engage sexually with another person who is almost always a man.

This SCOTUS decision doesn’t completely remove women’s sexuality or sexual agency; it enables corporations to impose burdens and limitations on the woman’s choice based on personal opinions of people who run it. It puts the misogyny of rich men ahead of the medical care of working class women. We can assert that our sexuality is our own, not just by denying men from it, but excluding men – showing that it exists whether we include them or not. Do the things that don’t require birth control to serve our best interests, and let the opposition know that their attempts at muzzling women’s sexuality is fruitless – it’s not going to get any more seeds planted.

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