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In Defense of My Body, Health & Choices

By Jacquie Marroquin

During the recent Women in the World Conference in Washington D.C., Liberian Nobel Peace Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee said,  “Women need to stop being politely angry.”  She was referring to the ever-escalating war on women’s access to reproductive care in the United States. This powerful statement made by this equally powerful woman begged the questions: Where are the angry women? (A question she also asked.) And exactly how angry are we?

It’s impolite and unreasonable women who have been behind every Women’s Movement victory, from the right to vote to the right to choose. We are living in urgent times. If we are going to fight back against the assault on women we must be impolite. In fact, we must be downright vulgar and unreasonable in defense of our bodies, our health and our choices.

We win when we channel artists like Favianna Rodriguez, whose latest poster series succinctly captures the rational reaction to the Republican war on women: “Keep ur government off my $#@!%.”

We defeated Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell by voicing our outrage when he introduced a bill that would force women to undergo medically unnecessary trans-vaginal ultrasounds with plastic probes after a woman made the difficult choice to have an abortion.

We win when our impolite anger extends to the occupation of social networking pages belonging to those Republican state legislators who mistakenly believe the right to govern our bodies is up for negotiation. We bombarded said pages with sarcastic questions about those pesky problems with periods, cancer, pregnancy, vaginal probes, abortion and contraception. Not one question was answered. We were vocal and they were stunned silent. Mission accomplished.

When the Susan B. Komen Foundation made the disastrous decision to defund Planned Parenthood, they immediately felt thewrath of angry masses. Not only did it spur a fierce online campaign calling out the foundation for playing politics with women’s health, but also this reaction from a former supporter who told the Susan B. Komen Foundation to “Kiss my a@#!”  Boom!  Win again!

Let me be crystal clear with both Republican and Democrat politicians: Your insistence to legislate women’s health and reproductive choice is not up for discussion. Period.

Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. There will be no negotiation. Period.

We will channel comedienne Anjelah Johnson and say, “We will cut you!” Then, we will write a song about it that Paquita la del Barrio will headline in her next tour called “Me Están Oyendo, Ratas de dos Patas?” Your insistence to control women’s health, bodies and choice couched under your right to freedom and faith will be met with consistent, impolite, unapologetic and downright vulgar righteous indignation. And make no mistake.  Women. Will. Win.

We are taking the war from cyberspace to streets across the country on April 28th for the Unite Against the War on Womenprotests. If you’re ready to stop being politely angry, join a protest in your state. By offering our brand of unapologetic, impolite anger, we honor Nobel Peace prizewinner Leymah Gbowee and say:

We are paying attention.

We are angry.

We will not stand down.

Jacquie Marroquin is a Program Coordinator with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. A 2010-2011 Fellow of New York University’s Women of Color Policy Network, she’s worked with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors for over 10 years.