I was going to do a post today about the books I’ve loved recently, but then I read this article at the HuffPost about Rush Limbaugh claiming that a girl who wants affordable birth control is a slut whose parents should be ashamed of her.
This is ludicrous in terms of being uneducated about how birth control pills actually work. It’s also generally appalling. I hate the idea that there are girls out there who might be shamed into not asking for birth control, and then having unprotected sex. Or feeling shady and uncomfortable about something that is neither.
Frankly? I started taking birth control pills myself when I was nineteen because I wanted to have sex with my boyfriend (now my husband, but I hardly knew that then). When one of my very Catholic friends found out, she flipped out on me about whether I was ready to have children. No, I said; hence the birth control pills. We went round and round about the morality of it. Jess at age 31 would have told her as nicely as possible to eff off and mind her own business. Jess at 19 was really upset at being made to feel slutty and immoral about a responsible decision that was between me and my boyfriend.
The thing is, my friend was totally within her rights to wait until marriage and not use birth control. That is a valid choice. But so was mine. So is yours, whatever it may be.
Sex is not shameful. Our country is just profoundly weird about it. On the Breathless tour, it came up several times that people are much more comfortable with violence than with sexuality — in real life and in books.
It’s not quite to the point yet where the men in charge of our government are accusing ladies who like sex of being witches. But BORN WICKED feels uncomfortably relevant to me these days. People have asked me whether the Brotherhood, the group of patriarchal priests who govern my version of 1890s New England and oppress witches and women alike, are based on any particular religious group. They’re not. I wanted to explore what happens when there isn’t a separation of church and state, how any religious group that doesn’t allow dissidence can become dangerous extremists.
I will freely admit that I don’t always pay as much attention as I should to politics. But this election cycle, politicians seem to be focusing on women’s rights. Decisions are being made about women and women’s bodies without any women being allowed to take part in the discussion. I think we need to start paying attention, and speaking up, whatever our opinions may be. It’s 2012, not 1896. We need to have political voices.