Politics gets lady bits (sort of) right for once

So, Mike Huckabee recently said something about how women who want birth control can’t control their libido or their reproductive system.

I find this hilarious because he’s spot-on; just not in the way he thinks he is.

I mean, no shit; libido is not a static thing!

Really, how many times have we heard the defense of a rapist (NOTE: I chose my word with care here, because I’m pretty sure I have heard this exact thing heard used in the defense of both male and female rapists) say “I just couldn’t control myself”? Sure, you can’t control who you find attractive. Most people have someone. I had cute teachers in high school. I’ve had crushes. Just because you can control the actions resulting from that—Which, hey, is exactly what most of these women are doing, I’m pretty sure; it’s just that their control results in consensual sex that is far less likely to produce children. Where’s the condemnation of the guys who engage in this? Oh, right, they’re “sowing their wild oats”… which is code for “can’t control their urges”. Forgot about that. My bad… *coughchokeDIE*—doesn’t mean you can control exactly when you’ll find yourself ready to go. Yeah, women are supposed to have that famed “on/off” switch for those *ahem* romantic feelings, but Hollywood lies to us about a lot of things, and I’m pretty sure this is no exception…

To be clear, I believe that men are just as capable as women of controlling their urges. People are, by and large, pretty decent. For some reason, we give the ones that aren’t the most press. Kinda sad if you ask me.

(What I find absolutely hilarious is that I’m watching this little exchange in the 1993 “The Three Musketeers” right now:

Aramis: [teaching female student about the fall from the Garden]

Student: [leans over and kisses him]

Aramis: Madam, I’m flattered, but I am here to tutor you in theology.

Student: Forgive me, Monsieur Aramis, but when you started talking about original sin, I lost control and became impassioned. It won’t happen again; go on.

Aramis: [puts down Bible] Well, there’s nothing… unholy about… expressing one’s emotions. On the contrary, religion should be experienced in an all-embracing way. Feel free to express your spirituality.

Student: Yes, darling. [They start making out]

Husband: [Turning door knob] LET ME IN!

Student: [panicked whisper] My husband!

Aramis: You’re MARRIED?

Student: Yes, I’m married!

Aramis: Oh, we must pray for our sins. [They bow their heads; door bursts open, husband takes a shot at Aramis, who ducks] On second thought, God is often busy… [runs as Student tries to hold off Husband])

As to being unable to control my reproductive system, God, I only wish I could. I can’t just go, “Oh, hey, uterus, my homie; I had a rough go of it last month–think you can tone the cramps down? Actually, all you bits and bobs down there, can we just not do this this month? Actually, can we just not do this until I’m ready to have a baby*? That’d be swell, thanks!” (* Funny story: that’s actually how fertility works in Terre D’Ange in Jacqueline Carrey’s Kushiel series.) Is there some sort of black magic by which men control their bits and bobs? Given the conversations I have had with those of the biologically male persuasion, I’m pretty sure there isn’t…

Oh, right; they can’t actually control it and they’re sowing their wild oats. Anyway… *coughchokeDIEAGAIN*

More seriously, I can sort of see the point he’s making in his other remarks. I don’t agree with it, but I can see how he got his slant on it. The thing is, I don’t feel like a victim when I can make my own choices and when I’m not debilitated by cramps three days a month. (And apparently 3 days is me getting off lucky. Either that, or my friends have some really crappy luck…) I actually feel really empowered. Something about not having to excuse myself from work, especially in an industry that is still largely male-dominated, just makes me feel good. I mean, not that I try to wave banners and announce it to the world, and it’s not like the guys I work with ask or are jerks about me being female. It’s just one of those facts-of-life-that-we-just-really-don’t-want-to-think-or-talk-about things. As long as that’s understood, it’s all cool.

Rather like abortion, I’m not going to force birth control on someone who doesn’t want it; it should be a choice. It is that choice that is empowering. It’s a choice that does give me control over things I otherwise can’t control.

…At least we agree on that point?

Letting Your Kids Watch Disney Won’t Ruin Them, I Swear

Watching Disney movies in college gives you a rather different perspective on them than you had when you were little. Or, at least, the movies are a lot more understandable in light of the knowledge you gain as you go through school.

Some people are okay with this. It makes movies more enjoyable and easier to watch multiple times when you going, “Hey, I never noticed that before!” But I’ve also heard friends say, “Oh my God, these movies are horrible! I’m never letting my child watch them at a young age!”

When remarks like that are made, I’ve often said, “Hold on just a second. How much of that can you honestly say you understood when you watched that at five?” and about as often gotten back some stuttering about how it’s still in there and that’s not okay before the eventual grumble of “None of it…”

Often, it’s that people don’t want their children to learn bad behaviors. There’s also a protective instinct to shield young ones from scary or sad scenes. Honestly, I remember being upset at Mufasa’s death in The Lion King. I remember being scared out of my wits at Aladdin’s escape from the cave of wonders. I remember the Beast teaching me that anger can be a scary, ugly thing. I remember Gaston teaching me that being arrogant can get you your way, but it will make a lot of people think you’re a tier-1 jerkface.

See, the world isn’t perfect, and in those movies, no matter how dark they get, there is happiness. Often enough, the ending is happy. That’s the reward to the viewer for sticking with it. And when you think about it, things are happier now than they were when fairytales by the brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson were what children were expected to read or listen to. (We get such watered down versions of them today; if you read the original versions, there’s some REALLY dark stuff in there!)

Then, there’s also a huge feminist argument against a lot of Disney movies. I completely understand where that’s coming from. Really, I didn’t want to watch Snow White or Sleeping Beauty because I thought they were really, really boring.

Then again, with two older brothers and no sisters, I also grew up watching Star Wars and The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest and playing with Legos and Hot Wheels. I played Star Wars at recess with the boys, and I enjoyed my fair share of rough-housing, but I also loved to watch the pretty Disney princesses. It never occurred to me that society thought any one of those activities was “wrong” or “right” for little girls to want to do—I was just having fun! I invented stories with my dolls and stuffed animals, and I had fun dressing up in a tutu just as much as those activities I mentioned that are more thought of as boys’ activities.

Disney didn’t teach me how to be a girl, and that’s definitely not for lack of exposure. I freakin’ loved those movies and would watch them every chance I got. Heck, I don’t think I ever actually learned how to be a girl, which explains a lot, if you know me. What Disney taught me—what everything taught me when I was little—was how to be me, and to accept myself for who I am, and not let some Gaston mold me to his will or some Scar try to intimidate me into doing things I did not want to or should not do… you get the picture. (Side note: Disney also did not give me body-image issues. I came by those long after I stopped watching a Disney movie a day, and even now, I’ve never cared about how “fat” I am relative to an animated character. Or a live-action one, for that matter.)

I’m okay with the color pink. I like princess stories (though the princess can’t be a damsel in distress for half the book, or I just give up). And there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about the kitchen that keeps me in there probably far more often than is really healthy for me. But I also like the color blue, watching things explode, and working with power tools. Disney never said I couldn’t do both. But if they—or anyone—were to say that? I’d have a few rather rude suggestions for what they should do before continuing on my merry way.

So yeah, when I get around to having kids, they’ll totally be allowed to watch Disney movies. In fact, I might make them, even if they don’t want to.

Kidding.

Sort of…

Anyway, these hypothetical children will be allowed to watch and ask questions and form their own beliefs about what they can and can’t do, and I really hope that they, like me, don’t do things just because “that’s what girls/boys do—and the other gender doing them is wrong”, but because they want to. And I will try to keep my laughter at the less appropriate jokes down until they’re old enough to understand, then watch them possibly go through that same phase of horror/shock when they realize there’s a reason why adults find these things funny, and THEN watch them realize that it’s okay because they didn’t get it, and Disney didn’t ruin them, either.