Thursday, May 24, 2012

American Airlines vs. the T-Shirt

WARNING: This posts contains a little language.

Judy McIntryre, an Oklahoma state senator, held up a sign (borrowed from a protestor) at a February rally that read: "IF I WANTED THE GOVERNMENT IN MY WOMB, I'D FUCK A SENATOR." The rally was in favor of women's choices, specifically in reaction aginst the 'personhood' bill that would define life at the moment of conception, which could potentially lead to legal ramifications for a woman if she miscarries her baby, not to mention make all abortion illegal in the state. Fortunately, the Oklahoma State Supreme Court ruled the bill unconstitutional in April, and unanimously at that (thank goodness).

Fast forward almost two months.

Jodi Jacobson, Editor in Chief at RH Reality Check, posted an article yesterday about how a pro-choice colleague of hers was held by American Airlines employees and forced to miss her connecting flight because she was wearing a pro-choice shirt and they demanded that she change. And the shirt? Same message as the sign Senator McIntyre held up a few months ago.

Now, granted, the word "fuck" is offensive to many people. However, Jacobson's colleague, 'O' in her post, was not detained at security, was allowed to board the initial flight, and not seen as a security risk. It wasn't until the end of her flight when a flight attendant noticed the shirt, alerted the captain, who told 'O'  that she shouldn't have been allowed to board the plane at all, and would need to put something else on. The staff did not help hold the flight for her, causing 'O' to miss her connection.

Jacobson writes:
"But protest these laws and the War on Women with a t-shirt that gets right to the point? Let people know the basis of all of it, the people that "want government out of our lives" want to place it directly into our bodies? In a country supposedly founded on freedom of speech and expression, in which protestors can stand outside clinics harassing and threatening women and doctors, and run through every public square with gory doctored photos? A country in which other protestors can stand outside the funerals of gay soldiers killed in duty and scream disgusting insults, and still have their rights protected? 

Oh, no. You can't do that. You can't take that message that your body is your own anywhere. Because in the United States today, that is like taking your burqha off under the Taliban. That is 'offensive,' 'insulting' and 'not for public consumption.'"

And she is spot on.

It's not a shirt I would wear myself (I would be happy to wear a reworded version), but the sentiment is correct. How offensive that women across the country are being told that they don't have control over their own bodies, that they shouldn't have full say over their right to choose whether or not to have children, and when to do so.