I announced a while back that I would delete anti-choice comments or those dismissive of the idea that women’s reproductive rights are important and/or denying that those rights under constant attack by right wing politicians and “pro-life” bullies in the face of overwhelming evidence that that is exactly what is happening. I got one such comment yesterday and did delete it, as promised, and of course whining ensued by the commenter but fuck him because, as I said, I don’t have time to teach Pro-Choice 101 to people who clearly aren’t interested in understanding it.
I’m going to print part of his comment, though, because it is illustrative of a curious disparity in the response to my posting, which is admittedly (and proudly) focused on reproductive rights much of the time:
I have a hunch this issue took over your life a long time ago and it has now become, if not your life, then a major part of it. That’s sad. Especially when it leaves you so angry and bitter…
There are many, many bloggers out there who blog about everything under the sun. Many of them blog about certain things almost exclusively, such as their dogs. Or cooking. Or sports. Or flower arranging, etc. There are a lot of bloggers, such as those of us here at BfA, who focus on politics.
Politics is defined as “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.” That covers a broad range of activities and rare is the political writer who adept at covering all of them, or even half a dozen or so. So it’s common for political bloggers to emphasize one or two topics over the rest and devote a lot of writing to those topics. For example, David Safier used to be a BfA blogger and he wrote primarily about education because that’s his area of expertise. Similarly, our own Bob Lord writes a lot about taxation and income inequality, because that’s his wheelhouse. Steve Muratore devoted many posts to the redistricting fight, and continues to do so as new developments arise.
I don’t recall seeing any of the aforementioned bloggers being scolded the way I was. None called “angry and bitter” simply for having a deep interest in a certain subject and writing often, and sometimes passionately, about it. But I get that shit all the time. Why? And it’s not even that writing about reproductive rights at all necessarily elicits this particular brand of derision. I am fairly confident that “Steve”, who was the source of the above quoted comment, hasn’t visited these people to inform them that abortion has taken over their lives and that they should really calm down about it.
Why do you suppose that basically everyone, including anti-choice activists, gets to focus obsessively on their pet topic if they want to but it’s somehow out of line for a pro-choice blogger to do the same? Even when said pro-choice bloggers are constantly given ample reasons to write about attacks on women’s reproductive rights?
My theory is that that the anti-choice bloggers operate in a larger culture of stigma around female sexuality – hell, slut shaming is our national religion – so people like “Steve” are willing to buy that anti-abortion zealots are driven by a true concern for saving babies. On the other hand, a pro-choice blogger like myself is seen as defending women being able to have sex without “consequences” (which is true!) and that might be something that that “Steve” considers illegitimate and unsavory. So it would make sense I would come across as irrationally angry to him. But that’s his problem because I’m going to continue to advocate for women’s autonomy and dignity as long as I draw breath.