Invisible Women

A huge part of being a feminist is giving other women the freedom to make choices you might not necessarily make yourself. ~Lena Dunham

Women – and especially moms – are the static noise that undergirds society.

We’re the background that you don’t hear but that hums along continuously as you go about your own important business. We carry the mental load of the house – do we have milk? – what’s the number for the cat sitter? – what did that plumber say again? And we do that while doing all of the other things that we have to do. For many of us, that means we keep up a house while trying to balance a job and a family – and then we go to work to try to save democracy after the last little one has been tucked in.

And that’s been very interesting to watch. It’s been more interesting to live.

All the while, the media refuses to pay attention in the same way that it has to truly bat-shit crazy movements led by men.

Remember the birth of the Tea Party? That moment was covered extensively in the news. Not a week went by without some footage of middle-aged white men hiding their racism and misogyny behind yellow flags hitting the evening news. The press even turned the birther movement over and over in its hands, examining it from all angles and reporting it as though it was a real story.

But the largest single day of protest in American history? Meh. Women ditching their jobs to door knock, or leave high-powered careers as NY lawyers to become campaign managers? Ho hum.

There are puff pieces about literal Nazis and (I kid you not) men who divorce themselves from the news entirely in a self-imposed bunker of ignorance. There are boatloads of stories about the “white working class” voters that have enthralled the media.

But there are few pieces that really dig into the story of the millions of women *yes I said millions and I mean that* who have changed their entire lives because of this administration.

All of that is the background to the fight that women – and male allies – will be fighting for the foreseeable future.

Because with a looming Supreme Court nomination and the solidification of a conservative “pro-life” Court for a generation – well, now shit’s getting real.

And – at least in some places like Missouri, where I live – the response to that reality is that we’re seeing Democratic operatives and party leaders courting “pro-life” voters in a mistaken attempt to broaden the brand of “Democrat,” particularly with rural voters.

Let me be very clear about something.

When Democratic men – many of them well-meaning and wonderful and allies on many issues – debate whether or not I should be allowed to choose the path of my own life, it’s jarring.

I can’t tell you how strange it feels to see people publicly debate your agency. Seeing anyone (but especially men) debate whether women should be allowed to make their own reproductive choices is destabilizing – it’s our government treating us as though we are dolls with no intellect, sense of self or capacity for understanding our own best interest.

“The abortion debate” as we have been so well-trained by the GOP to refer to it, is really a debate over governmental reproductive control, because the operative question is whether the United States (or state) government should have the power to tell me whether or not I am to reproduce, and to thereby force me to bear the attendant financial, physical and emotional costs of the government’s decision on my behalf.

Does that clarify things?

It’s completely theoretical to men. It is not, to me.

Tomorrow I could find out that I’m pregnant. Or next month, or next year. Women face that reality every single month (we have helpful reminders, wouldn’t you know!) for more than 30 years.

So when the millions of women who wore pussy hats on January 21 find out that you’re willing to take their civil rights away and jeopardize their future to pander to a white guy who wore a red hat in 2016?


And yes, I’ve heard the criticism – Don’t these women understand that we need to be a party that’s open to Pro Life Democrats?

Yes. Of course we do. We are the party of open doors, the big tent, and freedom of thought.

But we don’t expect you to be so willing to barter our rights to court phantom voters who are simply looking for an excuse to not support the party we have propped up and reinvigorated with our blood, sweat and tears over the past two years.

Like I said, we women are the static noise in the background, an invisible blanket of busy sounds and activity – the white noise of our culture, and now, of the Resistance.

You can’t really hear us.

But you can hear our absence.

And that, friends, is deafening.

Let’s get to work.

Actions (Week of July 24, 2018)

Tuesday: Call Your Leaders Out: What Are You Doing?

Can you even believe that one week ago Trump was standing on a world stage next to Vladimir Putin, telling the world that the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt? Seems like a year ago… But it wasn’t. And we can’t let our MOCs get away with hiding until the dust settles and going back to business as usual. We need to keep the pressure on. So give them a call and find out what exactly they are doing to get to the bottom of this swampy mess. (Reminder that Resistbot is a fantastic tool for contacting your Senators and Congress(wo)man.)

Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because like most of America, I am extremely concerned by Donald Trump’s actions at last week’s press conference – not to mention that he’s invited Vladimir Putin to the White House! We are past time for leaders to express concern and issue statements by press release. It’s time to start investigating. It’s time to get to the bottom of why the President refuses to criticize Putin, but has no problems criticizing our Department of Justice, our judiciary, our FBI, our intelligence community – and calls the investigation into Russian meddling in our election a witch hunt. I’m calling on Congress(wo)man/ Senator _____ to use her/his office to call for those kinds of investigations to happen, right now. What is the Senator/Congress(wo)man’s position on Donald Trump’s actions? What will he/she do to hold Trump accountable? What actions is he/she planning on taking?

Wednesday: Defend Title X

Title X is the only federal domestic program focused solely on providing people with family planning services – to women with and without insurance. Most patients are uninsured or ineligible for Medicaid. You can read more about it here.

The Trump administration has proposed a “gag rule,” that not only would prohibit providers from even discussing abortion as a health care option for women, but would impose onerous and expensive requirements – like having a physical and financial separation between Title X programs and abortion services. (By way of reminder, abortion services are never paid for with federal or government dollars.)

A new website – brilliantly branded as the Department of Reproductive Control – educates us about the Trump administration’s goals in a very ingenious way. They also make it dead simple to oppose the Gag Rule before the deadline of July 31. So head over here, check it out, click the ‘Take Action’ button at the bottom and submit your comment by July 31.

Thursday: Support the PAVE Act (S3049)

What with all of the discussion about Russian hacking into our election and the impending midterms, you’d think that our government would be all over election security, wouldn’t you?

Yeah, well.

So let’s give them a kick in the behind already. Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Protecting American Votes and Elections Act of 2018. Like it suggests, it’s all about protecting our votes and ensuring they’re counted appropriately. The Act “requires paper ballots and statistically rigorous ‘risk-limiting’ audits for all federal elections – the two steps cited by election experts as necessary to give voters confidence that election results have not been changed by foreign governments or other hackers.”

Honestly, that just makes sense.

Unfortunately, it’s gotten itself hung up in the Rules Committee. There are currently five co-sponsors – Warren, Gillibrand, Markey, Merkley, Murray. Let’s see if we can get some additional Democratic senators to join those ranks, and push this baby along, shall we?

Script: (for Senators): Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to ask the Senator to cosponsor the PAVE Act – S3049, which would help ensure the integrity of our elections. Especially now when we know that our elections are under attack, it’s important that we do everything we can to protect them. Requiring paper ballots and risk limiting audits seems like the bare minimum that should be done. I don’t know why any Senator would be against ensuring the integrity of our elections. What is the Senator’s position on this bill?

Friday: Help Reunite a Family

It’s horrifying that we are still dealing with the aftermath of the Trump administration’s separation of families. But it’s heartening to see so many people trying to help.

A coalition of groups is working together to reunite families that were separated at the border by Trump’s administration. You can donate here, to “pay for airfare, hotel, and personal items for children and parents released from detention.”

Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.

If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two.

If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!

Lastly, if you’d like to support this work (thanks to those who have done so!), you can become a supporter here.



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