Hey, You With The Penis — Don’t Tell Me How To Care For My Body.

Three women standing in front of a graffitied wall Photo : Rachel Mandel

I am sick to death of listening to older cisgender men sit around debating what I should be able to do with my body. I am sick of listening to them discuss how any woman should be able to care for her body. It is so frustrating, as a woman, to feel out of control of your own health and to know the control is in the hands of a group of older men. I know I am not the first woman to be upset by this, and unfortunately, I know I will not be the last.

Listening to these conversations makes me feel like a toddler in a room full of adults talking to each other about what to feed me for lunch. When I hear men without reproductive systems talk about abortion and birth control and Planned Parenthood clinics to each other, and discussing the morality of such topics without consideration of the experience of those whose lives these issues impact, I want to scream.

The decisions to have an abortion, of which birth control method to use (for contraception or separate health reasons), or choosing Planned Parenthood as a healthcare provider (for financial reasons, lack of education on options, familiarity), are ones that these older men will never, ever have to even consider making. They will never have to consider the benefits or risks of these kinds of decisions to their physical, mental, or emotional well-being.

I can’t help but wonder if these men have learned anything about health or sex-ed since the 1960’s, (cue Todd Akin and his theories of “legitimate rape.”) They do know that the scene in Mean Girls with the gym coach preaching abstinence or you’ll die is a JOKE, right? They do know that birth control is used for health reasons and not just promiscuity, right? And that if someone is taking it to prevent unwanted pregnancy, that is their choice and no one else’s business, right? They do know that women go to Planned Parenthood for reasons aside from getting abortions, right? And that the Supreme Court ruled state laws that ban abortions except to save the life of the mother unconstitutional in the case of Roe v. Wade in 1972 -they know that, right?

I assume that the only reason men would be actively working to deny women access to Planned Parenthood and the right to make decisions for their own health is because they have not had a health course refresher in decades.

Reproductive healthcare is an issue of equality. As far as I am concerned, if cis men want to sit around a discuss what I should and should not be able to decide for my body, they are not pro-life; they are anti-women. Last time I checked, nobody has to ask permission or go across state lines for a prostate exam. I have a request, a demand, for these men: let me and let all those with reproductive systems make the decisions that are right for our health. You don’t have a vagina, uterus, or ovaries, so don’t tell me what I can or can’t do with mine.

Note from the Author and Editors | We apologize for neglecting to specify that this essay is meant to address a problem between cisgender men and women. We understand that our body parts and reproductive organs are not direct indicators of gender, and believe that reproductive freedom is absolutely vital regardless of how an individual identifies. We have made changes which we hope will clarify the author’s original intent.

Annaliese Stockmeier : 90’s Rom-Com Fanatic, Tabata Aficionada, and Chicago Foodie. The next Rick Steves. Please call me Smalls.
Annaliese Stockmeier : 90’s Rom-Com Fanatic, Tabata Aficionada, and Chicago Foodie. The next Rick Steves. Please call me Smalls.