A lot of women resent the fact that this legislation is being voted upon by—look around the room—primarily by men…but you can imagine, or maybe you can’t, how a woman feels to be told that her feelings on these issues, that no matter how difficult, no matter the circumstance that she’s dealing with, if she can’t fit into every one of these square pegs that she is being asked to fit into by this bill…and what’s so disturbing is that…that so many of us on this floor have never faced this decision and never will.
Because you don’t have the equipment. And I have it, and my daughters have it, and women I know have it, and women I’ve never met have it, and each of them have direct impact by each circumstance that is being put up by this bill.
“The Steubenville rape victim was certainly someone’s daughter. She may have been someone’s sister. Someday she might even be someone’s wife. But these are not the reasons why raping her was wrong. This rape, and any rape, was wrong because women are people. Women are people, rape is wrong, and no one should ever be raped. End of story.
The “wives, sisters, daughters” line of argument comes up all the fucking time. President Obama even used it in his State of the Union address this year, saying,
“We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence.”
This device, which Obama has used on more than one occasion, is reductive as hell. It defines women by their relationships to other people, rather than as people themselves. It says that women are only important when they are married to, have given birth to, or have been fathered by other people. It says that women are only important because of who they belong to.