I didn’t watch the Oscars– because I don’t care– but reports making the rounds on the web seem to be largely pointing to Seth MacFarlane’s hosting as something of a dud, with the performance of the now infamous “We saw your boobs” song having set the tone for the evening. This was particularly embarrassing as several of the movies he gleefully referenced in his schoolboy-inspired number actually featured the actress in question portraying a character who is raped. (After watching a video of the performance, I’m left questioning in my mind whether MacFarlane actually comes out of such a movie chuckling to himself, “tee hee I saw her boobs!”?)
And while MacFarlane gets a chuckle out of them, the Oklahoma Senate is considering a move to push greater social control of women’s bodies by passing an opt-out for employers who oppose including women’s healthcare needs in company insurance plans mandated under Obamacare. The measure, which would grant employers the option to not cover women’s access to contraceptives or birth control, was recently passed unanimously through a Senate committee and now heads for a vote in the full Senate.
The sexism inherent in these attempts to interfere in cis women’s (and some trans men’s) healthcare needs is highlighted by the utterly ridiculous comments from Dr. Dominic Pedulla, the Oklahoma City cardiologist who requested the measure in the first place:
Pedulla says he is morally against contraception and abortion. He said he had to give up his small group health plan because the only plans available in the state required coverage for contraception and sterilization. He and his family were on the plan and had to find more expensive insurance elsewhere.
“Every small group plan forces you to choose those options,” Pedulla said.
Women are worse off with contraception because it suppresses and disables who they are, Pedulla said.
“Part of their identity is the potential to be a mother,” Pedulla said. “They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they are being asked to poison their bodies.”
Studies show that women using contraceptives consider pregnancy more unwanted than wanted, he said.
The idea that women have some inherent drive to birth children as their fundamental identity would be almost laughably stupid… if it weren’t the fact that it has actually resulted in a measure that may soon become law in Oklahoma. In the real world of course this isn’t about a woman’s identity, it is about her ability to make her decisions about her own body and it is about her ability to control her own economic future.
The fact that Pedulla argues “women using contraceptives consider pregnancy more unwanted than wanted” (um, duh) as some claim that women have given up their ‘inherent identity’ does however make him something of an hilariously unintelligent spokesperson for the right-wing anti-woman movement.
Maybe we can get this guy to do the Oscars next year?
As a follow-up comment, there is of course another key political backdrop to all of this, which is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) whose reauthorization was stalled by the GOP during last year’s election cycle. Sadly, even without the political backdrop, the GOP still seems incapable of unambiguously committing itself to standing against domestic abuse and other violence commonly experienced by vulnerable women throughout the U.S. While the Senate has stepped up and passed an expanded version of the bill that includes protections for both trans women specifically as well as all undocumented women and women living on Native American reservations, the GOP-controlled House has put forward its own version of the bill that rips out those desperately-needed protections. Obviously, we all need to pressure Congress to reauthorize VAWA, with a bill closely modeled on the Senate version.