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May 5, 2022
Sexual Politics & Culture

The Heteropatriarchy Strikes Again

This week, there was a leaked Supreme Court opinion, written by Justice Alito, that indicates the Supreme Court will overturn Roe vs. Wade, after 50 years of our right to safe abortion being the law of the land. 

Those of us who have fought for decades for bodily autonomy, reproductive and medical choice, sexual freedom and safety, equal pay and equality in all forms, know that this moment is pivotal.  

The heteropatriarchy that puts the power over the masses in the hands of the (mostly) white, male few thrives on using religious symbols and ideas to control the bodies and sexuality of women, and of anyone whose sexuality or gender falls outside of their prescribed heteronorms.  

The right to control our reproductive destiny, and therefore, our life destiny is critically linked to liberation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and trans people.  

The right to make informed medical decisions is critical to sexual safety and autonomy.  

The right to express our sexuality with whomever we choose, and to have agency over our sexual choices is at the crux of the rights of sex workers. 

No country that would seek to control people’s reproduction and sexuality is free. We are not free.  

And if they are going after Roe vs. Wade, it won’t be long before they go for the right to marry whomever we want, and many other hard-won rights. 

I have been working on my documentary At Your Cervix for so many years that the term “non-binary” didn’t even exist when we started. When people hear what the film is about, they are shocked to find out that a “teaching method” like students “practicing” pelvic exams on anesthetized patients without consent could possibly exist.  

How can this be legal? This is rape, how is that sanctioned by schools and governments?  

Because they are patriarchal institutions that thrive on controlling women and other people with vaginas, and they believe they deserve access to vaginas.  

Our whole culture is built on this idea—that husbands control wives, that a wife can’t be raped by her husband, that rape isn’t that big of a deal so we barely punish perpetrators, if at all, that during birth, medical doctors deemed the authorities of the body can make decisions on behalf of the person giving birth, that they can march groups of people into the room where this sacred event is happening without asking, that they can rape and harass all they want, as long as they don’t get caught…and if they do, their cronies in office will help them get away with it. And so forth. The list of repercussions we have been enduring is long. 

That women are second-class citizens whose bodies can be controlled by the state is not a new idea.  

That queer folks don’t get to have the same liberties and protections as everyone else is policy in plain sight.  

That poor folks get second-class medical and social care is normalized. 

That the concerns of people of color will be dismissed by medical providers is everyday practice. 

In this heteropatriarchy, that thrives on controlling the sexuality of women, trans folks and queer folks, and using religion as an excuse for its abuses of power, all of these things are par for the course in concentrating political and economic power among a small rich, white elite.  

They will stop at nothing to keep and grow their power, unless we take it back. 

All of these issues are inherently connected and have been from the dawn of the misogynistic white supremacist patriarchy we still live within today.  

Until we say “No more!” will these people given the privilege of public office and take the power out of their hands, we will live under this rule.  

It is up to each and every one of us to make sure that the lives of women and trans folk, and queer folk, people with disabilities, and black and brown people matter. It is up to us to dismantle this outrageous system that was designed to control our destinies, our bodies, our sexuality, our agency, and our health choices. 

Here is the thing: Many legislators and people with political power are listening and want to do right by us. We get to tell them what we want and hold them accountable to stand up to these egregious power grabs.  

Less than three weeks ago, the night before our Albuquerque sneak peek screening of At Your Cervix, I posted a petition to get a law passed in New Mexico banning pelvic/intimate exams on anesthetized patients without consent. 

Ever wonder if all those petitions you sign on change.org matter? I am here to testify: it does!  

In less than three weeks, with over 54,000 signers, a state legislator sent through a mutual contact, her personal cell phone number and a message that she wanted to talk about this issue and possibly have us testify at the interim sessions. I am having lunch with her on Monday to discuss. Also, the chair of the medical program at the University of New Mexico wrote to say they have a policy in place and that he would support a legislative effort.  

WHAT? This has happened so fast, we are heartened by the impact of our petition. My learning? We can do big things, and we can make change happen, sometimes more quickly than we realize.  

We are going state-by-state getting these laws passed and I believe that is what we will need to do with abortion rights, unless our legislators hold the republican/anti-choicers’ feet to the fire and pass an actual federal law protecting this essential right.  

We will mobilize to figure this out. We’ve worked too long and hard to go back to the dark days when pregnant people died, desperately trying to end pregnancies in unsafe ways.  

Abortion rights have implications for all of us and so many of the rights we may take for granted. Abortion and everything it represents is related to so many other issues.  

Keep your voice loud and show up for this. Now is not the time for hopelessness, it’s the time for vibrant, loud action! We have a lot of work to do and it requires something of us all. 

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7 Tips Sexual Empowerment Course for Busy Adults

Free sexual empowerment course that’s custom made for busy people. 7 days, 2 minutes per day and easily applied to everyday life and relationships.

A’magine, formerly Amy Jo Goddard is author of Woman on Fire: Nine Elements to Wake up Your Erotic Energy, Personal Power and Sexual Intelligence and co-author of the best-selling classic Lesbian Sex Secrets for Men. She earned her Master’s degree in Human Sexuality Education at New York University and has been teaching and speaking about feminism and sexuality for over two decades.

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