Women’s rights are not secure. That much is clear. A change in administration in the US has meant that everything is up for grabs. Fortunately for women thousands of people spoke up in defense of Planned Parenthood and in favor of maintaining ACA. So, for the moment, we have been able to maintain the gains of the last 50 years.
But the battle is not over. One of the positive outcomes of these dark times has been the increased awareness of the precarious nature of women’s rights. Young women who may have thought feminism was outdated or that doors for women were always open have had to re-evaluate those conclusions. Lawmakers can change laws. An assemblage of white males can make decisions about women’s reproductive rights with no women present!!!
We endeavor to illuminate these issues in our book listed below. In the first chapter I write the following:
How has progress in these areas has been so scant? Why is it that women in many parts of the world have no political rights or that thousands of women in the United States, even in Ann Arbor, Michigan, exist in sexual slavery? For many centuries men have held political power over women and, as with other political or ethnic minorities, have viewed them as “other”, without acknowledgement or regard for their separateness and difference. What will it require for civilization to accord women equality, equality anchored in their reproductive and sexual autonomy, which then allows them the freedom to explore the multitude of shapes that gender may inhabit? I believe that the answers lie within a complex inter-weaving of biological, political, cultural and intra-psychic factors… which we endeavor to address in our book.
It may be argued that the patriarchal order plays out differently as a function of race, ethnicity or socio-eco status and that is undoubtedly correct. Women inhabit mothering in vastly different ways as a function of many factors. The circumstances surrounding birth may also be different but it is still females who do it. It is still females who produce the heirs to the male line. Moreover it is difficult to imagine how the experience of rape would be other than a humiliating and degrading assault upon the physical and psychic space of another human being. But, as with psychoanalysis itself, conceived “in western society for a western public of Judeo-Christian culture” (Lahmar 265) 1990, p. 10) I believe that we can still apply our discoveries through the application of “universal mechanisms by which the symbolic effects of imposition operate.” (Labidi, p.265)
As I stated earlier sexuality and maternity are prevailing factors in the lives of the majority of women. Their rights will not be secure until they acknowledge and claim those factors as their own.
A Womb of Her Own: Women’s Struggle for Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy),
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Ellen Toronto is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Spring, Texas and has been practicing since 1980. In 2017, she was elected a Fellow in Psychoanalysis by the American Psychological Association. In 2016, Dr. Toronto's practice was recognized as one of the top Ann Arbor Psychology practices. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Toronto is married to Robert Toronto, Ph.D., and together they have four sons and eleven grandchildren.