The big backlash against bullying women


Protesters make a show of support for Planned Parenthood during a rally on the National Mall in April. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Petula Dvorak
Columnist February 2, 2012

You’d think the political process had turned into one big, sexy Go Daddy Super Bowl ad, with all the focus on breasts, bellies and even butts this week.

Let me explain how our political discourse has gone all T & A on us.

Petula is a columnist for The Washington Post's local team who writes about homeless shelters, gun control, high heels, high school choirs, the politics of parenting, jails, abortion clinics, mayors, modern families, strip clubs and gas prices, among other things. View Archive

Amid the uncertainty of a meringue-strong economy, a continuing housing market crisis and persistent unemployment, the folks hired to try and fix these kinds of things in the Old Dominion spent their time legislating decisions that should be left to women and their doctors.

The Virginia Senate passed a bill Wednesday requiring women who are about to have a legal abortion to get an ultrasound first. The woman is supposed to be shown the image and will have to sign a waiver if she chooses not to take a look.

Should they also make the women listen to some lullabies? Smell some baby powder?

This legislation is nothing but bullying.

And the biggest bully on the playground this week wore pink. The Susan G. Komen Foundation, in a thinly veiled attack on abortion, withdrew its funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings.

Yes, the folks who sell you all those hats, tote bags and special-edition teas covered in pink pulled their funding for the screenings at Planned Parenthood, which basically means breast cancer prevention for a lot of low-income people.

You think an assault on women’s ta-ta health isn’t enough? How about we take on the Girl Scouts, too?

My colleague Robert McCartney just wrote about the war against the Girl Scouts.

Churches in Northern Virginia and other parts of the country have kicked out Girl Scout troops after a virulent smear campaign linking them to an international scouting association and every single reference either group has ever made to Planned Parenthood.

The anti-Girl Scout campaign is being pushed by stuff like this: “100 Questions for the Girl Scouts” on www.familywatch
international.org
.

“Why did the Girl Scouts feature Marie Wilson, staunch abortion supporter and defender of Planned Parenthood as a keynote speaker at a national Girl Scout convention?”

Um, maybe because Wilson is the co-founder of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and because she is the author of “Closing the Leadership Gap: Why Women Can and Must Help Run the World.”

This is complete insanity. And all of it threatens things that are good — even vital — for women. Meanwhile, the work that needs to be done to help prevent unwanted pregnancies — real sex education and easy access to birth control — is being marginalized.

And the work that needs to be done to bolster good parenting — real child care, equal pay for mothers and flexible work time for all families — is being ignored.

No wonder there’s a backlash erupting. The Pink Bully is getting blasted big time online:

“Through various events at work I have supported the Susan G. Komen organization. With this decision — that support has ended,” declared AggieHullabaloo.

“What a stupid, cowardly, toadying decision by a group that claims to support women!” wrote MaryinChicago.

And get a load of hokiejane: “No more. Not a dime. My pink SGK jacket is in the bag for Goodwill as I type, and I’m ‘de-ribboning’ myself completely.”

Even author/icon Judy Blume chimed in: “Susan Komen would not give in to bullies or to fear. Too bad the foundation bearing her name did. Support @PPact. Save lives,” tweeted the author of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”

Thousands of women rushed to support Planned Parenthood. The organization received $650,000 in 24 hours.

Women have had enough and have struck back in some pretty interesting ways. Buying Girl Scout cookies is an easy and yummy way to make a statement. (Thin Mints as political protest!) But take a look at this maneuver by Virginia state Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) on the odious ultrasound legislation.

Howell proposed a “his” version of the bill, with some requirements for Viagra prescriptions:

“Prior to prescribing medication for erectile dysfunction, a physician shall perform a digital rectal examination and a cardiac stress test,” Howell said, reading the amendment aloud. “Informed consent for these procedures shall be given at least 24 hours before the procedures are performed.

“I just think we should have a little gender equity here,” Howell added.

You want to hear the real kicker? The amendment fell short by just two votes. Keep messing with us, and the next time it might pass.

Petula Dvorak will respond to your comments about this column at noon Friday at washingtonpost.com/
dvorak
. You can also see previous columns there.

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