I know I am.
But there are exceptions—possibly more all the time!
I met two of them at a NOW dinner the other night. Since I don’t have their permission to quote them, I will change their names to X (the woman) and Y (the man, who is also her husband).
Both are in their mid-thirties, raising two small children, each from an earlier marriage.
X is an obstetrician, working in one of the two women’s health clinics that survive in this enormous state: Santa Fe, where X works, and Las Cruces, where the other clinic is, are 400 miles apart—in spite of the protests, including images of bloody fetuses, paraded through the streets by a “Christian” group from Texas, where all but a handful of clinics have been closed.
You might imagine X would be somber, working under these conditions, and especially after a prolonged procedure on a woman whose cervix wouldn’t dilate. “The character of this cervix,” she explained to me.
Instead, she is jubilant, full of the satisfaction of her work and the perhaps greater satisfaction of working against the opposition to choice that has gripped this country. Donald Trump certainly has some choice words up his sleeve about the kind of women he imagines needs this procedure… “Animals” might not be quite strong enough.
X’s sense of humor shines. Learning that I am a writer, she suggested two projects: a virtual (“Virtual virtual!” Y chimed in, laughing) book called “A Girl’s Guide to Abortion” and a new show for Eve Ensler to write, called “The Uterine Monologues”—an essential update on her widely-shown Vagina Monologues.
X and Y and I are not alone—at least in Canada. I have just read the new issue of Bitch, the Canadian magazine that bars no holds. This issue takes on the forbidden topic of menstruation—and is it saucy! I am reminded of the startled gasp that followed the introduction of a Kotex on stage in my first play, Milk of Paradise. We sit numbly through scenes of rape and murder—but a Kotex!
Our sisters and foremothers are often smothered in conventional accounts of history. For that reason, I was delighted to read an article in this month’s Boston Review celebrating the life and achievements of Ellen Willis, founder of the Redstockings; I was quite startled by this group and its antics in New York in the 1960’s.
Even more important, Willis was the original “irrepressible crank,” outspoken, irreverent; she even given spirituality a run for its money when she discovered, during an LSD session, that there is a God—and Her name is Reality.
I wish I’d known Ellis, who died a few years ago. We might have met, at least in passing, either when we were both Guest Editors at Mademoiselle magazine, or, even more dramatically, when we both flew down to Juarez in the 1960’s to obtain our divorces.
If Ellis had been on that plane of dismal women (and one man) she surely would have made us laugh—and she might even have initiated a conversation about why divorce in the U.S. at that time could only be obtained if there was proof of infidelity, sometimes meaning a hotel room meeting between the soon to be ex-husband and a woman pretending to be a prostitute.
If Ellis had spoken Spanish, she could even have translated for the rest of us what the Mexican judge in that Juarez courtroom read when he read our (group) decree.
But I do believe she would have gotten a greater kick out of my next visit to Juarez, for a dance weekend that involved several late nights in the local bars…