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I Only Need Birth Control Because . . . I’m Only Fat Because . . . And The Politics Of Appeasement

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. on July 1, 2014

Ruth Bader Ginsberg with middle finger up

A fun (but obviously photoshopped) image of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Following the recent, horrendous Hobby Lobby decision, I’ve been seeing a spate of articles talking about why so many women need birth control not for controlling birth but for medical issues like irregular periods.

I find this argument not only irritating but detrimental. I think the argument that birth control is not just birth control but medicine SUCKS as an argument. Why should it matter what anyone uses birth control for? Whether you’re having sex with multiple partners or just want to regulate your period — why is that anyone’s business? Why is that your boss’s business?

It’s your body. It’s your choice. That’s all that matters. Let’s not appease the narrow-minded by telling them you’re not using birth control to control birth.

Maybe I’m particularly sensitive to this appeasement that masquerades as an acknowledgment of rights because it reminds me of an argument that I see in the fat community a lot.

It makes me think of Stella Boonshoft, whose image was hailed as a moment in the body love movement. Yes, it was brave of her to take that picture in her underwear, but her words continually undermined her message: “PCOS makes it incredibly hard to lose weight, and spikes up your insulin levels which can lead to diabetes and other complications. I felt like I was just getting bigger and bigger and could do nothing to stop it. . . . Health and weight are not synonymous, and I know that to be healthy means to manage my sobriety and PCOS the best that I can. I may not ever be thin, but that’s okay. It’s all about progress, not perfection.”

I don’t mean to be hard on Stella. It’s not just her. But I want this sort of argument to stop because it’s not helpful.

It’s not helpful to say, “I’m fat because . . .” because it doesn’t matter why you’re fat. At least, it shouldn’t matter to anyone else. From a rights perspective, whether you’re fat because of genetics, or a medical issue, or constant dieting, or whatever, it doesn’t matter.

Why doesn’t it matter? Because you have a right to be fat no matter what the reason. You have the right to be in the body that you have no matter how or why you got there.

You also have the right to use birth control for medical reasons or for actual birth control or just because you like it. It’s none of my business. Just like your fat is none of my business.

But equal rights and bodily autonomy are our collective business.

You don’t have to apologize for your size or your birth control or your choices. Let’s stop the politics of appeasement when we’re talking about our bodies.

Do you agree with me on this? Let me know your thoughts below!

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