Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hobby Lobby's degradation of women

This just in -- women in the United States are being victimized, humiliated and reduced to an all new low.  Perhaps you've heard about it?  Blaring across headlines, news shows and all of blogdom is the persistent idea that who women are involves one thing, and one thing only, and what women want is one thing, and one thing only.  

The tale, it is told, is that women's biggest interest in life is sex.  And what women want, nay, what they need more than anything in the world is love contraception.  Make that free contraception.  To give them less than free contraception is to deny their dignity, goodness and humanity.  Shall we treat them like women-persons who must supress their fertility on the company dime and give them free contraception, or shall we treat them like an object that is capable of bringing forth new life and force them to do so by rejecting their pleas for monthly free trips to the pharmacy?  That's the message we've been given.

You know what's ironic about it?  The idea that women are solely interested in sexual encounters with "freedom" from pregnancy, the idea that women require free contraception to be happy, fulfilled or even to be themselves is, in truth, what is objectifying, victimizing and humiliating.  Women have been reduced to their ability to engage in sex, and a broken sort of sex at that -- an intentionally sterile sex that uses hormones or copper or metal impants to reverse what is perfectly healthy.  If an alien were to come to earth and hope to learn what this strange creature, "woman" is, he would spend five minutes listening to Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer or nearly any reporter and conclude that a woman is a sex-enjoying machine who relies on the government to give her the medicine she needs to ensure that this act remain on a superficial, inconsequential level.

How is this not insulting?  The alternative to the vision of women embraced so wholeheartedly by the government, the media and so many unsuspecting, not-truly-listening Americans is not to see women as baby-making machines.  The alternative does not demand that all women be cooped up in little shacks, stirring broth to feed their 22 children, each a year apart.  No, the alternative, ironically, sees women as persons, not as machines.  It sees women as unique, unrepeatable creatures whose greatest need -- and what they most deserve -- is love.  It sees women as possessing an inherent language of their bodies that allows them to speak love.  It sees the potential to give life as so beautiful and feminine that every woman is called to bear and nourish life spiritually.

Women have bodies, even in some sense are their bodies, but their bodies aren't just a necessary object for sex.  And women are not just their bodies.  They have a rich, interior landscape.  Women have feelings, emotions, desires (not just sexual!), talents, fears, joys, struggles, thoughts.

All of the whining and complaining that the Supreme Court just insulted women by saying that certain closely-held employers can avoid paying for contraceptives if it goes against their religious beliefs -- and instead send their employees to the government who will pay for their birth control --almost sounds like an article from The Onion.  The complaint is that women are being mistreated and denied their fundamental rights by 5 justices who clearly have no respect for women.  But isn't it really the other way around?  Isn't the reality that reducing women to the right to free contraception is denying that what women need and deserve most is not a handful of synthetic hormones but authentic love?

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