Pocochina’s Weblog

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domestic terrorism

Posted by pocochina on April 27, 2007

Over at Feministe, Zuzu has a fantastically outraged post about the latest bomb scare at a women’s health clinic, this time in Austin, Texas.  And she’s totally right, when women’s health centers are attacked, it’s the textbook definition of terrorism, which is (ahem, paraphrase alert) violence or threatened violence in order to scare a group of people.  I think that this phenomenon of calling domestic terrorism anything but itself shows up in mainstream reporting of hate crimes in general.

There is very little difference between the actions and mentality of gay-bashers, the Klan, clinic-bombers, and rapists, and little more between them and militant Islamic terror groups.  In size, in resources, in citizenship, they are obviously different, and yet, they act in order to terrorize.  You are not like me, and so, you do not deserve to live, and if you do live, that life should be in constant fear. Such mentality is inhumane, and it’s easier for all of us, myself included, to process when it is the other. It makes for much better pictures, and the lines easily drawn.  Us and them.  You’re with us, or you’re against us.

Except, in the case of domestic terrorism, they are us.  And fuck, you can’t lock a guy up just for wanting to prove his maleness.

Oh, yeah.  Maleness, or more specifically, hegemonic masculinity, the paradigm which sets up manliness as the ability to dominate through violence and the All-Powerful Male Heterosexuality.  People who are gay and out, which entails courage, fuck with established gender roles, and dammit, that needs to be scary, either for men who fuck with the system by abdicating heterosexual privilege, or women who blatantly not only own their sexualities, which are independent of maleness.  And so, hate crimes, or domestic terrorism, is an attempt to put the entire LGBTQ population “in its place” by directly victimizing the few.

Does it even need spelling out?  Contraception, abortion, and reproductive health care are emblematic of female agency and independence.  Abusers use children  to control their victims; the ability to avoid children strips away from the illusion/reality (depending on her situation) of female subservience.  So women who take advantage of these resources, as the vast majority of us do at some point in our lifetimes, deserve to be terrified when we do so.  The argument of fetal life is incidental, especially to someone who’d leave a bomb in a building where pregnant women see their doctors – how is this not everywhere?

Part of me wants the never-ending hypocrisy of the anti-choice movement blatantly in the public eye, all of the time.  I want everyone who’s forming an opinion about safe, legal abortion to hear this endless barrage of news, until they realize that when someone wails that a fetus is alive, what they tend to mean is that a woman who’s had sex is not a life, I want everyone to hear this until we’re all sick to death of it, until we accept it on the same level of wrong as all the other hatemongers of the international stage.

And another part of me knows that this won’t do any good.  It won’t win over too many more radical feminists, it’ll just give the less-blatantly-misogynist elements of western society the ability to claim moderation.  Of course I don’t think clinics should be bombed, they’ll keep on saying with round, compassionate eyes, I just don’t think people should use abortion as birth control.  Because that’s what drives bombers, you know.

I’m absolutely livid at a world that is actually having this discussion.  That it’s not just a given that no, women don’t actually deserve to die when they go to the doctor.  We live in a world where the perpetrator, the terrorist, could conceivably find safe haven in the countryside like Eric Rudolph.  That it’s barely even surprising that the AP only had five sentences to spare on domestic terrorism, because what, it’s just girls, dirty sex-having babykillers, and any news outlet who does report this incident for what it is will be attacked as the liberal media, elites who just don’t understand how the average American feels, that guy (I’m assuming, although I of course could be wrong) with the bomb was just  really really sad about the poor babies that were going to die, so he brought an explosive device into a doctor’s office, and the evil media is just going to treat him like any other BOMBER?

And next time I need to see the gynecologist, I’ll be thinking about that on my way in.  I’ll have one more reason to be afraid.

But I will not yield.

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