When did it become politically correct to say, we’re pregnant.Gag me with a spoon.We don’t get pregnant.I’ve yet notice any person with a penis spending his mornings puking his guts out, having a speculum inserted inside his non-existent vagina, or changing his lifestyle to assure the birth of a healthy baby. I also haven’t noticed maternity stores for men where they sell elastic fronted boxer shorts or custom designed wife beater t-shirts for the newest part of the male anatomy: breasts.Nor have I noticed men giving up six packs for a forty-pound egg shaped belly. So let’s get this straight, we’re not pregnant.Until cloning is a reality, it would be more accurate to say, we’re going to have a baby, since men still contribute 23 of the 46 chromosomes needed to produce a child.Speaking of production, I don’t see men volunteering to endure the excruciating pain of childbirth, the weeks of exhaustion after delivery, or the struggle to get that pre-baby figure back. Let’s not forget about those stretch-marks, that might never disappear or the episiotomy, that “small” cut a doctor makes to minimize tearing during delivery, which ensures it will burn like “heck” every time you urinate.Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “If men and women shared pregnancy and childbirth, no family would have over three children, since no man would do it twice.”She was right.
When I ask women why they say we’re pregnant rather than I’m pregnant, the responses are based on emotion not logic.“It’s sweet.”“I want to include him.I want him to feel a part of it.” “I’m scared and I don’t want to feel like I doing this alone.”“I want him to feel responsible for the baby.”“I want to create buy-in for my partner.”Whatever happened to individuation and separation?We’re pregnant is a denial of reality to create an artificial oneness.Expanding this we-ness to other circumstances highlights the absurdity of the claim.The phrases, we got a tooth pulled is not used to gain sympathy for a dental visitnor is we got a promotion and a raise used to brag about ones accomplishment at work. Saying we’re pregnant, doesn’t change a woman’s personal reality.No matter how you say it, in the end, pregnancy is something women have to do alone.
The reason the phrase we’re pregnant grates on my nerves it that it does what women too often do, share credit and diminish their own personal accomplishments. Pregnancy is a biologically expensive proposition for women.Adult men literally produce 100 million sperm a day and are physically capable of producing hundreds if not thousands of children in a lifetime.Women have a limited number of eggs and make significant biological sacrifices to have children.The phrase, we’re pregnant, diminishes a woman’s experience, by implying men and women are share equally in the experience. Women deserve full credit for enduring both the burden and responsibility of pregnancy.
Besides the psychological implications of joint ownership of a pregnancy, there are significant legal implications.When men are pregnant also, who decides when whether or not to terminate a pregnancy? In Japan, where abortion is widely accepted and readily available, women have to get their husband’s permission to have an abortion.Similar legislation could be not far away in the United States and subtle differences in the way we describe experiences may impact the way we legislate them.Ohio Representative John Adams introduced a bill this year that would require a woman to get the permission of the man she had sex with in order to have an abortion. He argued, men deserve the right to choose, too.So next time you want to say, we’re pregnant, think again. Women have fought long and hard for the right to choose, don’t jeopardize that right simply to pretend your partner is also pregnant.
A fifteen-year-old high school student was gang raped after leaving a Homecoming Dance in Richmond, California.Bystanders used their cell phones to photograph or videotape the event rather than call for help.In Deerfield Beach, Florida, five boys surrounded seventh-grader Michael Brewer, doused him with alcohol, and set him on fire. Brewer survived the attacked but has burns on over 65% of his body. Sixteen-year-old Chicago honor student, Derrion Albert wasn’t so lucky.His death was taped on a cell phone as a group of boys brutally beat him with wooden boards. Each of these crimes was particularly disturbing because not only did the perpetrators show no respect for human life, but no empathy for the pain and suffering inflicted on the victims of their crimes.All of these attacks horrified a nation that is struggling to curb teen violence and understand why so many teens seem so out of control.
As a society we tend to look to the already overburdened school systems to fix problems with our youth. Traditional interventions of increasing school security, teaching values in the classroom and increasing police presence in and around schools, will do little to curb either the frequency or the intensity of these attacks. Schools didn’t create these problems and they can’t fix them.Teachers and administrators are the psychological victims of teen violence as they spend their days working in “urban war zones.”The problems with our youth start long before they enter school and can only be addressed by educating parents and making them accountable for their children.
The sad truth is a cultural shift and technological advances have changed the way we parent our children, reduced their respect for authority, and their ability to authentically connect with others.Traditional time intensive methods parenting have been scrapped for efficiency. The rocking chair has been replaced by an electronic swing, story time by a video, and face-time by glimpses through the rear view mirror of a car. Board games which once fostered interpersonal interaction and sportsmanship have been replaced by first person shooter games like DOOM and CALL OF DUTY that desensitize children to killing.Face-to-face interaction with groups of friends has been replaced by “instant messaging” and social networking sites like FACEBOOK.The primary mode of one-on-one conversations has shifted from talking to the more cost efficient texting.
Children need contact with other humans to grow up to be healthy adults and these early years have a profound effect on adult behavior and attachment.Babies and young children need to hear the sound of a human voice not the jingle of a stuffed toy.Babies need to find comfort in people not machines.Older children need to spend more time with adults and fewer hours glued to a television or a computer screen. Middle school and high school students need more supervision than can be provided by an occasional check-in call with their parents.And whether a couple is married or divorced, all children need both of their parents to be active in the parenting process. Children need their mothers and their fathers. The lack of involvement by either parent, not only puts an undue stress on the custodial parent, but is likely to create a deep sense of abandonment and anger in the child.
The reality is many of our children are parented by machines and feel less and less connection with their parents and consequently humanity. The television is the babysitter, the computer the social meeting place and the cell phone the touch point. Machines may keep our children entertained and allow us to parent our children remotely, but machines by their very nature are cold, detached, and place no value on human life.Children need love to grow up to be healthy adults and you can’t get that from a television, a video game, an Ipod or a computer.There is no substitute for human contact and until we change the way we parent our children, no amount of security or surveillance will protect them.
Published in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette on December 8, 2009.
Although a significant majority of Democrats are women, the Democratic Party is not particularly female friendly. Fifty-seven percent of women are either registered Democratic or Independent with Democratic leanings. Women put President Barack Obama and the vast majority of Democratic elected officials in office, yet the Democratic Party appoints a paltry number of women to leadership positions.
Founded in 1848, the Democratic National Committee has had two women chairpersons, Jean Westwood (1972-1973) and Debra Delee(1994 -1995). Each served for a single year.
The current chairperson of the DNC is Gov. Tim Kane of Virginia and the chairs of all five committees of the DNC also are men. These committees -- the Democratic Governors' Association, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the National Conference for Democratic Mayors -- distribute DNC funds to candidates and control who runs for office.
Only one Democratic presidential candidate has selected a female running mate (Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro) and that was 25 years ago.
The Democratic Party Woman's Leadership Forum, designed to promote female candidates, hosts an annual fund-raiser. The money is deposited in the general campaign fund and used for both male and female candidates.
Mr. Obama's Cabinet is no more female friendly than that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. Of 15 members, Mr. Obama has appointed only four women: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
If Democrats are anti-woman why do so many women vote Democratic?
The Democratic leadership has used scare tactics by equating voting Republican with the loss of reproductive freedom. But what most women don't realize is that one of the first states to allow abortions before the repeal of Roe v. Wade was New York, headed by Republican Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. Republicans are responsible for some other female firsts. Republican President Ronald Reagan appointed the first female to the United States Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor, and the Republican National Committee now is headed by two co-chairs, one of each gender.
If the majority of women choose to be Democratic, they need to hold the Democratic Party accountable to them, or switch their party affiliation, or start a party that suits their interests. Such aggressive action is not unprecedented.
In 1916, Alice Paul formed the National Women's Party and campaigned to get President Woodrow Wilson and other incumbent Democrats to actively support the suffrage amendment. The continuous pressure Paul and other suffragists kept on the Democratic Party resulted in the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which granted women the right to vote.
If women want to gain the respect of the Democratic leadership and parity in appointed positions, we can't just ask for a seat at the table, we have to punish the Democratic Party with our votes when it fails to listen to our demands.
Dr. Lynette Long is a psychologist and writer who lives in Chevy Chase, Md.
National Statuary Hall is located in the United States Capitol.The large semi-circular chamber served as the meeting place for the House of Representatives from 1811 to 1857 when a new House wing was built.In 1864, Congress voted to create a National Statuary Hall out of the old House Chamber inviting “each and all the States to provide and furnish statues, in marble or bronze, not exceeding two in number for each State, of deceased persons who have been citizens thereof, and illustrious for their historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services such as each State may deem to be worthy of this national commemoration.”By 1933, Statuary Hall had become so crowded and the weight of the statues so heavy, that Congress passed a bill allowing the statues to be distributed around The Capitol. The statues in Statuary Hall were considered part of a permanent collection until 2000 when legislation was enacted that allows states to change out the statues. Since 2000, five state legislatures have voted to change their statues; Ohio is slated to be state number six.
The two statues currently representing Ohio are President James Garfield and Governor William Allen but Ohio has decided to replace pro-slavery Governor Allen with another Ohioan.The Ohio Legislature has established a committee headed by Senator Mark Wagoner(SD02@senate.state.oh.us, 614-466-8060) and Representative Tom Letson (firstname.lastname@example.org, 614-466-5358)which is canvassing the state to find a suitable replacement.They have also established a website:www.legacyforOhio.org where citizens can make suggestions and vote for prospective candidates. The primary contenders for the spot are men, (President William McKinley, President Ulysses S. Grant, President William Howard Taft, Jesse Owens) even though there are plenty of excellent women candidates.Here are just a few:
Lucy Webb Hayes was one of the most beloved First Ladies in our nation's history, and set the pattern for future First Ladies. A devoted abolitionist and philanthropist, Hayes was the first presidential spouse to be called "First Lady," the first to have a college degree, and the first to host the annual Egg Roll on the White House lawn.
Annie Oakley, the archetypal western woman, was an American sharpshooter who had a starring role inBuffalo Bill's Wild West show and was the first American female superstar.Named “Little Sure Shot” by Chief Sitting Bull, she played a major role in breaking barriers for women.Although her shooting career is well-documented, few people know Annie Oakley was a generous philanthropist, donating much of her fortune to orphans, widows and other poor women.
Nonhelema was a Shawnee Chief during the American Revolution, and one of the most remarkable women in Ohio's history. Known to whites as "the Grenadier Squaw" because of her stature and courage, she spent her life working for peace between the Shawnee and the Americans.
Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president in the United States. A brave and brilliant advocate for women's rights, she was also the first woman to open a brokerage house on Wall Street, the first woman to found her own newspaper, and the first woman to address Congress!
The statues in Statuary Hall are an inaccurate reflection of our nation’s history. Currently only nine of the 100 statues in Statuary Hall are women.With your help, we can make the new statue from Ohio number ten.It is imperative that the citizens of Ohio urge the committee to select one of these Ohio women to represent the great state of Ohio in Statuary Hall.Future generations of women, our daughters and our granddaughters,need to see a reflection of themselves in our nation’s history.A fair representation of women in statuary hall will not only honor past female leaders but help create the next generation of female leaders. Contact the committee chairs today and tell them you want a woman in Statuary Hall.
The Ohio State Legislature has decided to replace the statue of Governor Allen, currently in National Statuary Hall, with a new statue. We need to pressure the Ohio Legislature to select a woman since currently only nine of the one hundred statues in National Statuary Hall are women. Harriet Beecher Stowe lived almost twenty years in Ohio and did all her research for UNCLE TOM'S CABIN there. We feel the lack of women in National Statuary Hall is significant since it sends the wrong message to women and girls about the role of women in American history and is representative of the insidious and pervasive sexism in our country. Ohio State Senate Bill 277 created the National Statuary Collection Study Committee to accomplish the task and present a formal recommendation for a replacement statue to the Ohio General Assembly. Committee members are:
SNAIL MAIL LETTERS ARE BEST – since they will be distributed to the committee and some will be read from the house floor. Please send snail mail letters to: Senator Mark Wagoner, Ohio State House, Senate Building Room #129, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio 43215.
If you would like to help with this project, please contact: DrLynetteLong@aol.com.