‘VAGINAS WIN! VAGINAS WIN!’: Reductio ad Lady Parts

My lady parts, what’s left of ‘em, are feeling mighty marginalized this morning, after waking up to the news that they did not get invited to the Grrrrrl Power party that reelected President Obama. Being respectable card-carrying feminist lady parts, activated in the 1960s, they are astonished to learn how far the mighty have fallen. “WTF?” they are asking. “Didn’t we already fight this battle? Didn’t they hear us roar in numbers too big to ignore that women are more than the sum of their lady parts? That we resist objectification with every fiber of our being?”

Apparently not. Because here‘s the HuffPost giving credit for the Obama win to a bunch of voting vaginas. And the vaginas (along with some uteri sistahs) are gleefully applauding themselves. Just a sample (all sic) from the, pardon the pun, combox:

Don’t mess with people with vaginas.

As a woman, I don’t care to have OLD WHITE GUY’s on Viagra telling me what to do with my Vajaja!!

I woke up this morning and didn’t find a republican in my vagina.

For the bible thumpin’ political holier than thou’s…when we collectively said “get your mitts off my uterus” we MEANT it!

WOOT WOOT! Ladies, show ‘em your uterus! And slap their head for even looking!

Yes, I voted with my lady parts. I don’t really agree with much of what Obama has done—drones in war, no public option in health care, etc. etc. But no way were the outspoken misgynists getting my vote.

I think it’s time to stop using the sexist gender “gap”. It’s a vagina, ok? Do you hear us talking about the gender woodie, or gender Dick, when we are talking about you?


I’d give you more, but I don’t like morning sickness unless there’s going to be a baby at the end of it.

And speaking of babies, the vagina vote not only returned the president to the White House but also made it very clear that America don’t need no stinkin’ babies. Poor Helen Reddy, in ‘I Am Woman,’ sang about being ‘still an embryo with a long, long way to go,’  but the vagina vote is delighted to abort her and save her the journey.


Family planning is essential to keep them from having more kids, 3 is enough economically and emotionally. This is lost on the GOPs at least the men. They see every child as a blessing, that’s fine , but most women and their mates do not want to be “blessed” more than a few times . . .

Women want to be able to CHOOSE when they have another person feeding off them, risking their lives

So, you are on the side of the forced birthers, who only want to take away birth control and force girls and women to give birth, for their own sadistic reasons?

that’s what happens when you treat women as baby-making machines, republicans.

I think it’s pretty important when women are being sentenced TO DEATH for someone’s religious beliefs. The economy will right itself or not. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House, but for the women that are even NOW facing the death penalty for miscarriages, the women that are being denied medical care because law makers have some religious hang ups? THEY NEED TO BE TAKEN CARE OF NOW. When YOUR representatives state that a woman can carry a dead fetus inside her until she gives birth to it naturally because cows and pigs do it all the time? Then YES, I have a HUGE problem with the Republican party. In case you didn’t know, a dead fetus can rot inside a woman, turning her very body toxic and it can kill her, not to mention the emotional horror of something like that. So what if they turn women into parts machines and comatose “wombs”, because you have money issues YOU want taken care of. Your kind is WHY you lost.

That last one, especially, makes my lady parts scared and sad. ‘Not to mention the emotional horror’ of knowing there are so many women who have bought the line that pregnancy is a misogynist conspiracy and a terminal disease, that a new life is nothing more than a handful of dividing cells, and parasitic ones at that. It’s that mindset—the lowered consciousness Planned Parenthood has been feeding the media and paying the president to promote—that actually reduces women to baby making machines to be quickly and permanently unplugged, and my friends, we are in for its consequences.

I’m not without hope, though, because I’m not—we’re not—without God, we loser lady parts. I took comfort from these lines in the Canticle of Zechariah as I prayed them at Morning Prayer:

Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.

I am remembering that as he sang these lines of rejoicing in the miraculous birth of a handful of dividing cells who would ‘go before the Lord to prepare his way,’ Zechariah’s dark and oppressed world gave him no other proof that God’s promises had been fulfilled than the sight of a baby’s face, a baby born from the withered lady parts of a woman liberated by God’s love.

In spite of everything, me and my withered lady parts know that we have more reason than ever to roar, to be living leaven in a mass of death-enthralled dough, to be cells of God’s kingdom dividing and multiplying joyfully in this midst, to show to a blind and hopeless world the saving sight of the Child’s face.

Woot woot! WE WIN! WE WIN!


For other good news and grace-filled reflection this morning, please read:

Tom McDonald, on trust

Frank Weathers, on what really matters

Mark Shea, on why this isn’t his (or my) fault

Cardinal Dolan to the President, courtesy Deacon Greg Kandra

An after-election prayer from the bishops, courtesy pro-life Democratic representative (yes, possible!) Rebecca Hamilton

Happy Catholic‘s Julie Davis, on trying not to swear

And the terrific reflection from Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, on the USCCB blog

More links to come as we climb out from under the shadow . . .

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    Yesterday was truely a sad day for Judeo-Christian values. History may mark it as the tipping point when the culture war was lost in this country to the values of the sexual revolution. Vaginas won, same sex marriage won, restricting religious freedom won, unrestritive abortion won, and wait, the seeds of euthanasia will also have been planted. I see nothing positive out of yesterday.

    • Thomas R

      Penises too I suppose. I believe the mandate also requires Catholic Universities and Hospitals to support male sterilization.

      • joannemcportland

        It does not. The HHS mandate, which is rooted in a women’s health initiative recommended by the National Institute of Medicine, requires specific WOMEN’s health services to be made available at no copay–including, in addition to contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilization, other less controversial things like PAP tests, diabetes screening, etc. Male contraceptive supplies and procedures like vasectomy, as well as performance enhancing drugs like Viagra, are not required to be offered, even at a copay.

        • http://jscafenette.com Manny

          Wow, then that it was a pure political stunt after all. There was no over arching medical reason for it.

  • Gail Finke

    Thank you for this fabulous post. Those comments are disgusting. That’s the kind of thing that practically drives me to say that women shouldn’t vote in the first place — if the struggle for the right to vote just results in THIS, maybe it wasn’t worth it to begin with, because I don’t see how crap like that helps women, or anyone else for that matter. Of course people like that do not represent all women, and I’m sure men say things that are just as inane. But it’s nice to hear sane commentary from a woman who makes me think our voting is a good idea after all.

    • Clark


  • TM

    Youch! It amazes me that people write that stuff and put their real name on it.

    The irony of choice is that you can choose to have a baby, but you can’t choose what kind of child they’ll become. The child I chose to conceive doesn’t listen, doesn’t obey, doesn’t clean up, and isn’t snuggly. The child I didn’t choose to conceive and during whose pregnancy I could’ve died (uterine bleeding) is the absolute sweetest, snuggliest, politest, cleanest kid I’ve ever seen. I’m going to love them both, but there is something much deeper than just owning [sic] a kid that the pro-choice, pro-contraception community is really missing regarding parenthood. If you’re going to play Russian Roulette with the next 20 years (or more) of your life regarding what kind of kid you’re going to have, is it really a big deal to play Russian Roulette with how many you’re going to have? The one you don’t want may be the one who takes care of you when you’re sick and elderly, widowed and out-of-work. Sometimes “leaving it up to God”–just a little–isn’t such a bad idea.

    • Karen

      Yes, it is a HUGR deal to play Russian Roullette with pregnancy. I’m glad it worked out for you, but I’m not willing to risk dying and leaving my existing two kids motherless. Also, I sincerely hope your older child isn’t old enough to read this. You may love her but you don’t like her very much.

  • Kim Whelan

    Thank you!

    I do have to admit that I only read a few of the samples of comments from Huff Post. They do cause morning sickness.

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  • http://ereadingromanticism.wordpress.com Bernadette

    Thanks for your sane reflections in the midst of much ridiculousness. Unfortunately, I think that both sides have bought into the illusion that it’s a winner-take-all battle between women’s rights and that of unborn children—a flawed assumption that’s led some on the Left to make the ridiculous comments you’ve shared and it’s led some on the Right to a knee-jerk anti-feminism. To create a compelling vision for either the women’s rights or the pro-life movement, we need to articulate these concerns as intimately related, and not reduce a woman to her lady parts nor a pro-life ethic to a merely pro-birth one.

    Also, as you link to a consideration of Cardinal Dolan’s message to President Obama, it seems worth also mentioning the Pope’s message to the President, if for no other reason than that it was sent by telegram! According to Vatican Radio, “Pope Benedict XVI sent congratulations to US President Barack Obama, who has been elected to a second term in office. In his Message, the Holy Father offers his best wishes to the President, and promises continued prayers on his behalf. The Pope assures the re-elected President that he will ask God to help him in his high responsibility to the country and the international community. The Pope also says he will pray that the ideals of freedom and justice, which guided the founders of the United States of America, might continue to shine through the nation as it makes its way in history.”

    • J. H. M. Ortiz

      Thank you, Ma’am, for your informative citation of Pope Benedict’s telegram to President Obama; and your reflections here as well as Ms. McPortland’s were, I think, balanced and sane.

  • Tim in Cleveland

    In regards to the first block quote, it’s sad to see that some women are acting like frat boys these days. From what I’ve seen in bars there are plenty of 20 to 30 something women who drink like frat boys and proud of their alcoholism. Now they are personalizing their private parts and high-fiving each other over the conquests of their vaginae.

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  • jose

    “It’s that mindset—the lowered consciousness Planned Parenthood has been feeding the media and paying the president to promote—that actually reduces women to baby making machines”

    Hmm, how does giving women the ability to not have babies if they don’t want to reduce them to baby making machines? Machines don’t have the freedom to make a decision and act upon it.

    • joannemcportland

      If the single most important right a woman has is being able to terminate a pregnancy, and the ideal state for all women of child-bearing age is to be placed on non-compliance-related forms of birth control (implants, IUDs), we’re getting very mechanistic about reproduction.

      • jose

        You mean when you have the ability to decide if/when to have a baby, that makes you more of a baby making machine. Still looks backwards to me. I mean an individual with free will and things under control would have that ability to decide, whereas a machine couldn’t help having the baby as it was ordered to do (and if it had an opinion at all, it wouldn’t matter anyway). Thinking about things and making decisions… that’s very human and I can’t see a reduction there.

        Also I don’t know that it’s the single most important. It’s just the one republicans decided to turn into an issue. You watch Maddow, so you’ve seen the chart of abortion-related bills since the mid terms. If they had attacked the right to vote or something else instead, that would have been the issue. There has been coverage for equal pay, but not nearly as much because republicans have been a lot more discreet about that one.

  • cminor

    Thanks for the perspective–it was much needed.
    But what the #&!! was the last commenter in the second box of Huffpo comments babbling about? Did they actually manage to convince the voting vaginas that those nasty Republicans were going to block treatment for natural miscarriages, too?

    • joannemcportland

      I’m not sure where that came from; a place of real pain, it sounds like, though the information is all wrong. It sounds as though someone is putting out the story that if abortion is banned, women would not be able to seek treatment for spontaneous miscarriage without being suspected of a crime. It’s not hard to understand, in this atmosphere of ratcheted-up rhetoric when neither side can seem to speak calmly and without going to extremes. And oh, yes, I include myself in that indictment.

      • Karen

        Savita Halappanavar. She was denied treatment for a miscarriage and died in agony.

        • joannemcportland

          Please review the facts in this tragic case. She died because of medical incompetence, possibly complicated by a preexisting E. coli infection that caused the miscarriage in the first place, not abortion laws. The hospital was not a Catholic hospital, and Ireland’s laws—as well as Catholic teaching—clearly allow for (even insist upon) her being induced, as she requested (NOT an abortion), in order to complete the miscarriage. There was no way the child was viable, and the mother’s life was at risk. That her health care team allowed this to happen makes them criminally negligent, but please don’t blame abortion laws or Catholics for her death.

          • Karen

            There was a fetal heartbeat, and the hospital believed that Irish law — which has never been clarified on this point — prohibited anything that would interfere with the heartbeat. The Ohio legislature is debating a law right now that would ban any medical treatment that would affect a fetus with a detectable heartbeat. If the catholic hierarchy supports bills like that in Ohio, the the hierarchy is guilty of the deaths of many women.

          • joannemcportland

            Please read the language of the Ohio Heartbeat Bill, which is not currently under discussion in the legislature. The bill, which does go beyond federal abortion guidelines to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, contains a very wide exception for the health of the mother, so you are incorrect in saying it bans any treatment that would affect a fetus. In any case, the wisdom of fighting for a bill such as this one, which would not survive a constitutional challenge under Roe v Wade and for which there is little support except among the most extreme segment of the prolife community, has been questioned even by anti-abortion groups. In other words, straw man.

            Abortion is responsible for the deaths of many more women—and men—than the Catholic hierarchy.

  • Billy

    Those first 4 words of this blog’s headline, the repetition of 2 words, is such a pithy way to summarize this entire election cycle. Great post!

  • Hate_every_4th_year

    In Georgia a bill was put forth that made abortion illegal and called for greater investigation into fetal deaths. This would logically lead to investigations of ALL fetal deaths, yes, including miscarriages – to rule out “human cause”. I don’t think it passed. http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/display/31965
    In Iowa a woman was arrested for accidently falling down her stairs and confiding in an ER nurse that she was terrified of being separated and having 2 little ones plus this new baby. She was jailed and investigated. Charges were dropped.

    These examples (and there are more) are also related to why personhood laws have been voted down. Even the most conservative state felt a little yucky about a woman having no say in what medicine she could take, what she could eat, how long she could stay on her feet or continue working (all these things can impact an unborn baby or the gestation process) until a court decided what was permissible based on weighing her rights against the rights of her unborn child.
    Oh, that happened in Florida: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/pregnant_womans_forced_bed_rest_order_reversed/

    Then the election season with stances on outlawing contraception (GOP primary), comments about what is and isn’t legitimate rape and babies from rape being blessings (really, so no period of rage or conflict about how a woman might feel carrying her rapist’s baby– automatically blessings!) made me cringe and were jumped on as examples of how little women are valued by the right.

    My heart changed years ago and I am consistently prolife – but criminalizing not being thrilled about a pregnancy, investigating miscarriages, forced bedrest, condoms as a legal violation? You wonder why women are scared Joanne, really? I have not seen nor heard of a decent policy proposal to outlaw abortion outright and implement the state monitoring of pregnancy yet that was constitutional and was not purely punitive in nature.

    So, yes, I can understand even a Christian or Catholic’s woman’s distrust or fear of the bishops and priests and the real impact on their lives by broad laws like those cited above. Unfortunately the pro-life side has done little (as a movement) to stop the far left from taking advantage of it.

    I am not interested in debating this – I tend to stay away from comboxes ‘cuz there is as much bitter crazy on Patheos as what you selected and posted. Just wanted to humbly suggest that there may actually be more to it all than YAY VAGINAS!, but I realize that hyperbole is the fashion.

    • joannemcportland

      I approved this, even though it violates a couple of my comments guidelines (length, outside links), because you raise some thoughtful questions that can’t always be heard in the extremist rhetoric. The bedrest case (there have been others that have been upheld) and the investigation into the woman whose comments about her fall raised suspicions are both examples of a principle that used to be unquestioned: the state’s interest in the wellbeing of children. It’s for this principle that courts have upheld requiring drug-addicted women to be supervised during pregnancy, for example, or that drunk drivers responsible for the death of a pregnant woman may be charged with two counts of manslaughter. So-called personhood amendments are rooted, at least theoretically, in that same standard of care. But until we agree on a standard of when a child is a person–which we absolutely do not–there were always be room for one side to tighten the definition, the other to loosen it. I tend to be wary of scare stories like laws criminalizing abortion (complete with pregnancy police a la The Handmaid’s Tale) on the one hand or the “modest proposal” for legitimizing post-birth abortion that was published in a medical journal last year. I wish we could talk in the middle, but as long as vaginas on one side and scientifically illiterate old men on the other side are doing all the shouting, there doesn’t seem to be space. I know you don’t want to debate—and I don’t want to encourage further wrangling—but I’d ask you to consider whether the state does or should have any role in the protection of children not yet born? And if it does or should, in the case of WANTED children, what makes unwanted children categorically less protected? Does the protection rest solely on whether the mother desires the child to be born? Just wishing there were some way to raise issues like this without being “bitter and crazy.” :)

      • Hate_every_4th_year

        I’d ask you to consider whether the state does or should have any role in the protection of children not yet born?
        What part of I am consistently PRO-life do you doubt? You can be pro-life and have an interest in and concern for public policy and how laws are written and enforced.

        So, I’d ask you in turn, to consider how far do you want the state to go to enforce adherence to the legal gestational guidelines (that logically follow personhood laws) that are for the protection of the unborn child. And if you do, and they will, who is to be monitored? All? The at-risk? Those with any prior criminal record? The poor? The single mothers? Those who fail a background check?

        Pro-aborts used scare tactics like the ones you’re quoting and fake statistics to get abortion passed.
        Yes, the bitter and crazy arrive. Practically a pro abort now? No, and actually, never. Just consistently pro-life and dignity of ALL now.
        But thanks for the perfect example – with those kinds of reactions there will be NO middle ground in the struggle to not only protect the life, liberty and well-being of the unborn but also the mother carrying him/her.

    • EMS

      We’re pretending that anit-abortion laws were just invented. They weren’t. Prior to Roe, anti-abortion laws were the norm everywhere. Pro-aborts used scare tactics like the ones you’re quoting and fake statistics to get abortion passed. Nobody was investigating miscarriages or criminalizing the women who had abortions. They went after the doctors. The death rates for women didn’t decrease when abortion became the norm, which belies the stories of backstreet abortion deaths that the pro-aborts love to toss around.

  • EMS

    The 19th and early 20th century feminists are turning in their graves or silently screaming at the immature women who scream the word “vagina” at the top of their lungs to promote so much horror – the “right” to chemically or mechanically destroy their children before they are born, the right to get themselves so drunk they don’t know what they’re doing, the right to act like any power hungry man, etc. The first feminists thought that women would influence elections with their compassion, their humanity, and their love of children, to help end wars, reduce the dominance of the rich and the like. Destroying their children was unthought of and they were convinced such horror wouldn’t exist in a world where women were afforded politcal rights.

    • mildlymagnificent

      Really? ” they were convinced such horror wouldn’t exist in a world where women were afforded politcal rights” – that’s not quite how it went. They thought that their influence on politics would be a ‘civilising’ influence on men. Which was dog-whistle for giving women the power to say no to sex when they were afraid of more pregnancies.

      It didn’t work out like that.