Friday, March 8, 2013

"Letter from Soraya Chemaly" - my critique

I wish people would inform me quickly when they write on a particular blog post of mine or even a comment of mine.

Dominican "feminist" Patricia is at it again.

My post worked!  It was purposely worded to trigger a response from her that would draw attention (thanks psychology degree).  After a while, you know what buttons to push in order to steer people where you want.

My only intention is to bring about a discussion that will lead all those involved to the truth.

Anyhow, Patricia decided to comment on her blog regarding our engagement via Twitter and the blogosphere. She then sends her friend Sara to link me to the post nearly 2 months later.  I do
not understand why she could not do it herself.  I am only a male, nothing to fear right?  After all this time, I am now made aware of this post and of course am responding to it here.    

As stated above, this was my intention.  Via twitter, my tweets are specifically worded in order to trigger a response from my audience.  Patricia fell for the bait and replied to one of my
tweets.  I had no prior knowledge of this young girl until I received her mention.  In any event, now there is a dialog going on where hopefully young women will realize the nonsense that is radical feminism.  I respond to each claim and let radical feminists destroy their ideology on their own at the same time.

In her post, Patricia highlights exactly what I mentioned via my critique of her post.  Radical feminists feel the need to "compete" with males.  These ideas come from the Radical
feminism developed by White women and which unfortunately is brainwashing Black and Latina women.  This fallacious gender essentialism counters the very goal of feminists.  I will
explain this in more detail in another post which I am working on for March, the month of women.  In short, women try to be free by standing within set parameters created by another.

I will critique this post now section by section.  Her words will be in blue and mine will be in black.

<<About a week ago I chimed into a twitter conversation with @Tempibones on twitter. She was having a discussion with a homophobic "priest" (or whatever he is) and I made a comment in 
jest about "hating when people pray on my behalf." It was a joke, thought I would prefer someone ask me before praying for me. Soon after this "priest" that goes by the name of @Sacerdotus seemed extremely agitated that I was a Latina, and [gasp] a feminist. He continued sending me messages about how I was brainwashed by White women. Hilarious! I obviously am just a 
weak Latina who cannot formulate decisions for myself. He went on my blog and read every single one of my posts and commented on pretty much every one of them. He seems very invested in teaching me the history of his Church, which makes me wonder why he even cares. It's not as if I, a mere woman on twitter will dismantle the institution he holds so dear. Eventually I blocked 
him because his rants were getting really ridiculous and I really did not care...I started responding with sillyness because what else am I to do with a man hell-bent on making me 
feel like a daughter he's trying to punish? It was mostly very paternalistic and creepy. He seemed to have an obsession with the fact that I was a Latina, so I blocked him, but he continued 
to read my tweets and take screenshots of them. Eventually he wrote a dissertation, I mean, blog post about me. It was the ultimate "I'm not done being mad at you!" >>

It is funny how the term "homophobic" is tossed around without validity.  Calling someone that term solely for exercising free speech is like calling Patricia "Phallus Envy" just because she
voices concerns regarding women and equality.  I will excuse her remark on the grounds of her being a young girl just learning how to take her first steps in the real world of prose and academia.

Anyone who has issue with someone else praying for them is mentally ill.  A "good" when perceived as a "bad" is something a shrink needs to evaluate.  Person A may not like apples, but if person B offers one, this offer is not meant to be offensive.  Moreover, Patricia messaged me first and based on her semantics, obviously wanted a reply to them.  I never message anyone on Twitter unless it is to reply.  Again, I tweet and people respond.

Out of curiosity I read her posts and commented.. I mean, that's what blogs are for right???  I did not know my comments would cause apprehension and worry in a supposed intellectually secure young girl.  I merely commented on the posts and corrected the misrepresentations of Catholicism.  They were not meant to ignite a blog or twitter war.

In my original post regarding Patricia, I wrote:

'If you notice as you read the tweets, you will see an individual who is angry at the world - particularly men.  Misandry is not uncommon among radical feminists.  They seem to
think they exist solely to compete with the  male.  They measure their lives and success against the male to the point of becoming so sensitive that any mere comment that may seem masculine offends them and puts them on the defensive.  They become overly sensitive and interpret any little thing as a male condescending the "inferior female."

Patricia is exhibiting these exact words in her post!

She writes:

" hell-bent on making me feel like a daughter he's tryingto punish? It was mostly very paternalistic and creepy. Heseemed to have an obsession with the fact that I was a Latina..."

Do you notice her tone?  Do you notice her anger and persistence in making this a female fighting off a male thing?  Can you clearly see the defensiveness and sensitivity when critiqued by
a male?  This is unfortunate indeed.  A true feminist is secure in her womanhood.  She is so secure that she can engage a male intellectually without feeling the need to be defensive or feel
as if the male is a condescending figure.

<<Funnily enough, it was the Church he holds so dear that led me to feminism. It was seeing the machismo and sexual shaming (of women) in my culture, led by the Catholic church that drove me 
to feminism. I won't post his blog post here, the blog post with the picture of me that he never asked permission to use, because it won't make any difference. I read it and it reminded me 
exactly the reasons I left the Catholic church, and all religions for that matter. It wasn't feminism that drove me away from a paternalistic, misogynist, sexist, and racist was that institution the drove me to feminism. 

The Catholic Church is the only religion that has been outspoken in the equal rights of women.  Women have always held a prominent role in the Church even in its infancy.  Here are some
documents of the Church regarding the dignity of women:

On The Dignity And Vocation of Women - Mulieris Dignitatem
The Role of The Christian Family in The Modern World - Familliaris Consortio
Mother of the Redeemer - Redemptoris Mater

I cannot comment on this "machismo and sexual shaming" Patricia speaks of because I did not grow up in a Dominican household.  I would hope that she would elaborate on this.  However, I will comment that the Catholic Church does not engage in the aforementioned.  Patricia claims that the institution drove her to feminism, but does not explain how.  More women join the Church as religious sisters than men join the priesthood.  I do not see how the Catholic Church pushes women away.  

In regards to her photo; I placed it up in order to identify the person named "Patricia."  It was not placed on my blog to shame her or ridicule here.  The photo is one she uses on Twitter and
one does not need permission to post one's photo when the photo is already made public and its existence is solely for that reason.  Legally speaking, photos posted on social sites become
the property of the site.  If the photo is an issue, I can kindly delete it.  However, her tweets which are embedded in the post will still show whatever photo she uses as an avatar.

<<Below is a letter I received from Soraya Chemaly, one of the most inspiring women I have ever met. I often chat with her because I feel that she understands where I came from and how I 
got here. I'm not sure why I knew that, we have never talked about our relationship with religion, but life has a way of putting the right people in your path, and the wrong ones to remind you of the amazing people in your life.  Thank God I'm a feminist!>>

Moreover, Patricia posts a letter she supposedly received from a "Soraya Chemaly."

I will critique the letter by segments as well.  Chemaly's words will be in blue and mine will be in

<<Dear Patricia, I too am a “na├»ve,” “radical” feminist. Although, at 46, no longer young. I’m also a Georgetown University grad, ex Divinity school aspirant, mother, wife, daughter and in all things “colorful.” I “go by the name” that was given to me, Soraya Chemaly.  Feminism has helped me 
understand, per your writing, “freedom.” Recently, I saw that you were involved in an exchange with a priest named Sacerdotus, who suggested kindly and with paternalistic concern that women 
like you and I, as a result of our feminism, will hurt ourselves…by crashing into things.>>

I never said that feminists will crash into things, nor that they will hurt themselves. This is an utter distortion of my points.  What I did say is that feminists such as Patricia become prisoner to the feminist rhetoric of others.  Moreover, women become prisoner to the set parameters of gender
essentialism as seen by the radical feminist movement.  Your womanhood is not free if you imitate the ideas of what womanhood is from others.

<<As a young woman, the building that I most often crashed into, apparently disoriented by “all kinds of sophism and relativism” was most always a Catholic church.  Like you I entered a 
university and was “brainwashed with ideas” – you know, classes taught by Jesuits about humanity, compassion, social justice, equality, liberty - Enlightmenty things.  It’s strange how they 
“seem to make sense and give hope,” even to women. So, it irks when the Church that professes to love us does everything within its power to make sure that we cannot achieve our hopes in these 
capacities.  When women do, it is only commensurate with the degree to which we accede to the demands of unilaterally male-defined gender roles of Church doctrine.  I'm not being flip and 
do not doubt in the least that this priest, or say, Cardinal Dolan and assorted bishops take their work with the utmost seriousness and compassion. But, their norms, ethics and deliberations are informed by their experience and millennia of misogyny.  No governing body that excludes women, but makes decisions on their behalves unilaterally has moral legitimacy.  As such, their conclusions and the consequences of those conclusions will remain fatally flawed and, literally fatally 
for women, unjust.>>

Universities, even if Catholic are not representative of the Church.  Just because a Jesuit, Franciscan, or Dominican teaches liberal ideas does not mean that these ideas stem from the
Catholic Church.  Unfortunately, there are professors in both Catholic and secular universities that pontificate to their students.  Rather than teach them the truth and engage their
students in a healthy appreciation of facts and critical thinking; they instead impose their personal views and politics on the curriculum.  Students who are not intellectually solid in
regards to critical thinking fall for this imposition.

Chemaly is obviously a victim of this indoctrination.  Notice the diatribe against the Church.  She believes that the Catholic Church "does everything within its power to make sure that we[women] cannot achieve our hopes..."  This is an absolute falsehood.  The Catholic Church does everything in her power to empower women, educate them and help them define their distinct role as given by God in society.

Radical feminism imprisions women into thinking that they are defined by the ideas of White women.  They are presented as the sum of their reproductive organs.  This is not freedom, this is a false promise to women who see a land of "milk and honey" and as they approach it, they fall into a pit of propaganda and fallacious rhetoric that defies even the sciences.  Chemaly seems to think that the Church's norms, ethics and deliberations come from men such as Cardinal Dolan and the like.  This is again another falsehood.  The Catholic Church preaches Christ.  The doctrines, ethics, moral teachings of the Church reflect the teachings of Christ and His Disciples.

<< While I do not measure my life against men’s, I do measure it against the standards that people, led almost entirely by all-male bodies, use to assess humanity and distribute rights.  In this way, I have found many men, women and institutions, wanting for the simple reason that they reject as fundamentally equally human female bodies, desires, experiences, insights and authority.  I, for example, do become  “overly sensitive” when the messages the Church sends about where I am to derive my sense of dignity are intertwined with sexually convoluted ideas about reproduction, purity, motherhood and restricted roles for women.  Ideas that find their origins in rifely sexist concepts of female baseness and moral incompetence.  I become “overly  sensitive” when men I don’t know profess to do things I don’t like or want in the name of protecting me from other men I don’t know who would hurt me or others of my gender, largely as a result of our not being male.  His post on you and your experience in life is the finest example of mansplaining, to use a rapidly being overused word, blather I have come across in a long time.>>

Ironically, you demonstrate in this paragraph your need to measure your life against a man's.  Look at your words, in particular your use of "mansplaining."  You become defensive instead of
engaging the concepts that you have issue with and attempting to understand why they are.  Naturally speaking, we all have roles in life determined by our genotype and phenotype.  There is no way around this.

Men cannot give birth, women can.  Nothing will change this biologically determined fact.  It is irrational to attempt to reduce women or even males to a "Tabula raza" state in which there exists no roles, no gender, not even identity in general.  The Church's teachings are meant to restore that which existed prior to the fall of Adam and Eve.  There is nothing convoluted in the teachings of
the Church.  Granted, they are difficult to follow some times, but this is because we have been conditioned to behave in a manner contrary to the law of God.

Calling the teachings convoluted is like calling a stop smoking program by the same idea merely because it is difficult for a nicotine addict to quit smoking.  This is where the Church liberates us in Jesus' name.  Like an addict, we slowly ween off the constructions of man which appear to be a good, but do harm.  Radical feminism instills tokophobia in women.  Pregnancy and child birth become something to be feared when biologically speaking, this is a normal function in the female gender of any animal species.

Radical feminism makes the woman the slave of man by introducing pills and other means to supposedly prevent pregnancy and STD infection, but in reality set up the woman to be the sex toy of the man.  Radical feminism instills a false sense of freedom by demanding that a woman have her unborn child killed in order to be a "true woman."  It presents woman as a prisoner to her own
natural biological make up.  The rhetoric is anti-science and irrational.      

<<But, it goes beyond that.  He explains that the Church “built the Dominican Republic,” but while he does this to highlight why you should be grateful to the Church he fails to note that it 
did this on the backs of people of color  – that includes, btw, women.  After the Church participated in the colonizing holocaust of an indigenous population.  The Church’s role in 
slavery is well documented.  “Our” “Western” “Civilization” is the basis for untold oppressions.  You should be ashamed of yourself for holding up this particular example of its success. 
Until the mid 20th century the Church accepted most kinds of slavery as simply the result of the human condition. That and a consequence of original sin. Sound familiar?  But, small things. 
He goes on to say that you should acknowledge that the Church built “Western Civilization.” There is no denying that there is a lot of good in Western ideas and ideals. But, the Church did 
this while it burnt women at the stake, deprived the vast majority of them of education, consigned them to early death through compulsory pregnancy and childbirth, relegated them to third class status by the billions.  The ideas and ideals of his admiration have long excluded, as the Church continues to, women. >>

The claim that the Church built the Dominican Republic on the backs of people of color is a silly one.  The people ARE the Church!  The other claims that the Church committed a holocaust of indigenous people is unfounded. Yes, the Church did play a role in slavery; namely fighting against it.  You are being intellectually dishonest by distorting history in order to fit your prejudice against the Catholic Church.  Without the Catholic Church, Western civilization would not exist as it does today.  The Church has never endorsed slavery or illiteracy among women.  Chemaly provides many claims without substance.  The Church has always promoted the education woman. St. Jerome stated:

"Parents should educate their daughters as well as their sons."  

Early death resulted not from pregnancy, but the lack of medical training at the time.  Chemaly falls into presentism by attempting to judge the past with the present.  

<<As for “radical feminism” not contributing anything to the Dominican Republic he himself proves this to be false: it has contributed you and I think you’re terrific! While he lauds your mother’s ability to struggle, and positively notes her not identifying as a feminist, he does absolutely nothing to reflect on how her life might have been less of a struggle if her access to work, money, food, control, or authority had not been necessarily mediated in every single meaningful dimension by men - economics, politics and, yes, faith. Good fathers in his terms.  It might interest him to know, by the way, that while you and I have both come to feminism,  my father is alive, well, married to my mother, loves and is proud of me. Oh, and he’s Catholic.  Some fathers are alive and maybe better fathers than others.  But, no father knows best just by virtue of being a man, which is the foundational premise of his argument and of the Church’s entire hierarchy. >>

I invite you to name the accomplishments of radical feminism in the Dominican Republic.  Please name feminists who built schools, built hospitals, cared for the poor.  I dare you to show us the evidence.  In reality, it was and is the Catholic Church who has and is ministering to the Dominican people even today.  Furthermore, I do not understand where Chemaly gets the idea that I did not reflect on Valoy's mom's situation.  I clearly wrote:

"Dominican women like other Latina women face many hardships.  They deal with poverty, men who leave them either for other women or when children are born; there are children to care for, etc."  

I never stated that fathers know best just by virtue of being male, Chemaly is falling into a straw man argument.  

<<Women like you and I, both women of color, educated in the “West” of multi-ethnic heritage and, by happenstance, in possession of functioning brains, are not living in “ideological prisons created by white women.” We are living with actual constraints created by arrogant and entitled and condescending men like Sacerdotus.  That is the “shadow” we are living with.   I’m glad he thinks feminism, with his approved limits, is a good thing.  But, his commentary on feminism and its historical evolution demonstrates the degree to which he fails to understand two basic facts: 1) feminism is a planetary struggle to end sexism and the exploitation of women and, unfortunately, 
for all of the real good that the Church does, it is a sexist institution that exploits and bodily endangers women in vastly unequal measure to men and 2) men and women who are engaged as 
feminists understand that the divisions we encounter within the feminist movement only make us stronger.  His portrayal of feminism as simple a rich, white woman’s pet project is shallow 
at best and disingenuous at worst.  As a weary, age old, divide and conquer strategy, it fails. >>

Chemaly, you need to be honest with yourself and stop living in denial.  Every moment you adopt radical feminism as your own, you're adopting the "ideological prison" that was created by and for White women.  There is no getting around this fact.  If you want to take my attempt to educate you and Valoy as arrogant and condescending, so be it; however, what I state is verifiable and is a heavily debated issue among feminists of color.  I guess your instructors failed to teach you this.  Having studied women's history and feminism in college, I am very much aware of the reality of feminism and what it entails.  The ideas I presented in my post are not something new.  They have been in discussion for decades now.  I can see why your instructors would keep this from you.  Had you learned this, perhaps you would have questioned the radical feminist movement just as I have while I studied it.

<<As for your “obsession” with his “masculinity and genitalia.”  Sorry to say, but no, I’m not obsessed and, tweets aside, neither I suspect, are you.   The Church, however, is and this is the frame for a lot of the debate about women and the Church. I do not hate him or other men, I just abhor systems that entitle him to power so arbitrarily.  Systems that allow him to think it is his god-given right and job for you tell women what to do – because, in the end, they have a penises and one less x chromosome.  Every child comes to understand this exceedingly simple truth.  As we grow up it is layered, one sexist blanket after another sexist blanket of, as he says, “all kinds of 
sophism and relativism.” But, it’s really not more complicated than that.  Women can and do think for themselves and are perfectly capable of participating fully, if they chose, in ministerial leadership. >>

Well it seems to all of us who read my timeline that there is indeed an obsession with my masculinity and genitalia.  I provided the tweets as evidence.  Why mention them?

The rest of your paragraph once again proves my original post.  You are demonstrating to us all the competition against men.  This woman against man is not healthy feminism.  I and other males can voice our views without women having to feel that those views are oppressive or meant to oppress.  Why present women as weaklings?   Every word that comes out of a man's mouth does not victimize women.  You need to get over the gender complex.

<<Does all of this make me angry?  Yes.  If it didn’t I’d worry that I’d died and didn’t know it.  The question is, why doesn't it make him angry.   

Why does it make you angry?  This is something you need to reflect on.  Why not be happy that you are a female?  Why create a fantasy world where women are caged while men are free?  Men and women are equal but not identical.  This is something radical feminists need to realize.  These differences do not show weakness, but rather, uniqueness.  I am not angry at all. I just take different opportunities to educate.

<<By the way, cute photo! Which I’m assuming, despite all of his web pages disclaimers about getting his permission to use or cite text, he didn't ask if it was ok to use. >> 

Once you post photos on a social site, you pretty much lose claim to them.  They are up for grabs for whatever reason.  Unfortunately, many people do not read terms of services as they sign up for a particular social networking site.  The photo I used originates from Valoy's twitter avatar.  I did not post it for any other reason than to put a face on the twitter personality that mentioned me.

I am assuming that both Valoy and Chemaly are engaging me in order to garner attention to their social network presence.  However, I would prefer that more facts are presented in place of ad hominem, straw man, and arguments from ignorance.



  1. Sir, you make me angry.

    Your post says:
    "Anyone who has issue with someone else praying for them is mentally ill. A "good" when perceived as a "bad" is something a shrink needs to evaluate. Person A may not like apples, but if person B offers one, this offer is not meant to be offensive."

    I like your example - I have a better one. I read a story [by Terry Goodkind] wherein there was a man and a woman, from two different lands. At one point, the man offered the woman an apple - in response, the woman attacked him with a knife. Later, she explained that, in her land ALL red fruit is poisonous. She thought he was trying to kill her.

    Is she mentally ill? No! She has a different life and culture, and by that culture his actions - Goodwill or not - would mean 'death'.
    Does prayer mean death to Ms Valoy? No. But it is highly patronizing. It's like me spitting on a tissue and using it to wipe your face. Sure, I may be trying to CLEAN your face, but it's HIGHLY disrespectful, no matter my intention.

    You have written:
    "She writes: " hell-bent on making me feel like a daughter he's trying to punish? It was mostly very paternalistic and creepy. He seemed to have an obsession with the fact that I was a Latina..." Do you notice her tone? Do you notice her anger and persistence in making this a female fighting off a male thing?"

    No. She didn't seem antagonistic, she seemed fearful of you, and I would be too. Why are you harassing this girl? Because she is an atheist? Because she is a feminist?
    I am too. That doesn't change anything. All that's happening here is that you are inflicting yourself upon someone who doesn't need to be inflicted upon. Leave her alone.

    You then critique her post saying:
    "I invite you to name the accomplishments of radical feminism in the Dominican Republic. Please name feminists who built schools, built hospitals, cared for the poor. I dare you to show us the evidence."

    Dude, this was a LETTER, written from one friend to another, that Ms. Valoy choice to put on her blog. This isn't a court case, it's social correspondence. Which makes it REALLY creepy that you're investigating it so closely.
    Do you not see that this is creepy?
    That you are allowed near small children scares me. That's no ad hominem or insulting jibe, that is the honest to God truth. You scare me, sir.

    You seem like a sexually frustrated old man, raging against feminism - and this girl in particular - for fear that you won't be able to subjugate women in some way. Just . . . stop it. It is disturbing on so many levels.

    This post may be a little old, at time of writing, but I am still deeply concerned for the well-being of anyone that reads this blog or is unfortunate enough to meet you.

    Just . . . stop.

    1. Your story makes no sense and definitely shows the woman to be mentally ill because

      1) The male offered the fruit and did not force it on her.
      2) She exerted too much force when a simply NO Thanks would have sufficed; or perhaps an explanation as to why she does not eat apples.

      Every society has norms on aggression in regards to self defense. They do not attack unless provoked. This is why Europeans had an easy time at first taking advantage of natives from other lands. It wasn't until the Europeans provoked the natives that the latter retaliated.

      Prayer is not "highly patronizing" anyone since it is found in every society on Earth. Even before Christianity existed, people prayed. This is a universal practice found in every civilization since man learned how to organize himself into societies and kept historical records. Being Dominican, I am sure that Valoy has prayed as a child since she has mentioned being raised Catholic. Had you read her posts, you would have known this.

      Spitting on a tissue and trying to wipe my face is a non sequitur since I am capable of wiping my face on my own and this act has no relation to a non-physical act such as, prayer. What makes an action disrespectful is not the action itself, but how it is carried out. Again, a person with a healthy psyche and who is educated would know about social etiquette and how to respond to variations if it. I assume Ms. Valoy knows this.

      Feminists have a way with words. You obviously do not have a strong grasp on double entendre. They love to play the victim - the man is oppressive and she is the victim-. Notice how you are quick to claim that she is fearful of me and that I am harassing her. Since when does critiquing a blog post relate to causing fear in others or harassment? Are you serious??

      She wrote a blog post and I simply gave my critique. This is done on a daily basis in newspapers where readers send in rebuttals to editorials.

      If you and her have a phobia of this, then that is called Enosiophobia and cognitive behavioral therapy can help you both with that.

      Dude, this letter was in regards to my CRITIQUE and I offered a rebuttal of it. Your suggestion that it is a court case is silly. I am trying to make Valoy, Soraya, and others think. They attack the Catholic Church based on misandry and completely disregard the facts regarding the reality of how Catholicism built the Dominican Republic. I merely questioned her claims and asked where were feminists in the formation of the nation.

      You obviously do not know what a critique is nor what philosophers do.

      What creeps me out is your insistence that others can post falsehoods and no one can refute them. That is indeed scary. How can you blindly accept lies? What is funny is that you are attacking my freedom to critique another's words, yet you are critiquing mine now by using this comment forum. Hypocrite much?

      Ah.. the ad hominem comes in. How can the conclusion that someone is sexually frustrated be derived from someone critiquing a feminist's words? Like really?? The problem here is that you do not understand philosophy nor the literary style of critique.

      Either you are willfully ignorant or never advanced beyond the 12th grade. All universities teach students how to critique and question others. Next time you post on my blog, please post something that is coherent and not based on nonsense.

  2. The first thing I noticed in this, is that you fail to dignify your opponent. Ms. Valoy receives no respect from you. You refer to her as "young girl" a word evoking childhood, ignorance and lack of worth. Using your words to paint this highly educated woman as a "young girl" who needs your "truth" is disturbing. You say "Every word that comes out of a man's mouth does not victimize women." But your words do.

    You say that feminists are competing with men. Certainly. All of life is a competition for resources. And when control of those resources is allotted based primarily on gender-bias, competition becomes gender focused. For example; multiple studies by non-biased organizations have documented that on average (in the US) women are paid $0.77 per hour for every $1.00 that men make *in the same professions*. In other words, two doctors graduating with the same GPA from the same institution will be paid a difference of 23%, based on their gender alone. And guess what, women are the losers in that competition. This is merely one example of how gender negatively and disproportionately affects women.

    As a woman who has given birth, trust me, feminism wasn't what made me fear pregnancy, birth and motherhood. You really want to know what made me fear those things? Poverty. Extreme, crushing poverty. Poverty that I will NEVER escape. That is the root of all my fears. When I found out I was pregnant, it was a shock. I'd been told I couldn't have kids, that my hormones were too messed up. Then I became homeless with my partner. I carried everything I owned on my back. For 4 months, I carried a 85-95 lb backpack at least 10 miles every day. I was very lucky because a) my partner stayed with me, and b) he receives disability, so we had a small income. I spent the 9 months I was pregnant "food insecure" meaning that I didn't always know where my next meal was coming from. For part of the time I survived by shop-lifting food into a diaper bag. A quick glance at mortality statistics for women giving birth in the US will show you exactly why I worried about giving birth. We are close to the worst in the developed world. I absolutely took control of when/if I would have another child. I simply could not have afforded another kid.
    Comprehensive sexual ed. does not "set the woman up to be the sex toy of the man." It gives the woman choice. The choice to say "yes, I will engage in this act" or "no, I don't want to engage in this act" free of the constraints of biology. You say that feminists are reducing women to their reproductive systems, but I am more than the biological need to produce offspring, and so is my sexuality. Even in the animal world, sex does not always equate to reproduction. Why should I not be able to have that same level of choice?

    You state that radical feminism demands that a woman kill her unborn child in order to be a true woman. You are preaching falsely. Feminism demands that women be given the choice about when and how they experience pregnancy and birth. I made the choice to keep my child. It was a very difficult thing to do, and even with all the love that I have for my daughter, I can say that her very presence and existence have made my life exponentially harder and have made the likelihood that I will be able to rise out of poverty exponentially slimmer. That is not a statement of regret, merely one of fact. I can't just go off to another college, I have to find a place that will hold my family. I can't just move for a job, I have to move a family. I can't just lose a job and crash on friend's couch if I can't make the rent. Those are just examples of ways that my life is different now that I'm a parent. Perhaps I and women like me are prisoners to our biology. That would be why I have a Mirena IUD. I have a loving, committed partnership of 10.5 years. I have a beautiful, highly intelligent 9 year old daughter. And I'm not having any more children. Biologically, anyway.


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