Subject for Debate: Are Women People?
Read it all here. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
All my adult life, I’ve been pretty sure I’m a sentient, even semi-competent human being. I have a job and an apartment; I know how to read and vote; I make regular, mostly autonomous decisions about what to eat for lunch and which cat videos I will watch whilst eating my lunch. But in the past couple of months, certain powerful figures in media and politics have cracked open that certitude.
You see, like most women, I was born with the chromosome abnormality known as “XX,” a deviation of the normative “XY” pattern. Symptoms of XX, which affects slightly more than half of the American population, include breasts, ovaries, a uterus, a menstrual cycle, and the potential to bear and nurse children. Now, many would argue even today that the lack of a Y chromosome should not affect my ability to make informed choices about what health care options and lunchtime cat videos are right for me.
In the hopes of clarifying these and other issues, below I’ve recapped recent instances of powerful men from the fields of law, politics and literature tackling the question that has captured America’s imagination: Are Women People?
Case No. 1: U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes
The Recap: Following a 10-week maternity leave, a three-year employee of a Houston debt collection agency filed a sex discrimination suit, alleging she was fired for asking permission to bring a breast pump to work. Hughes sided with the company, but added that the truth of the plaintiff’s claim was irrelevant. ‘Lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition,’ he ruled in February, paraphrasing Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. ‘She gave birth on Dec. 11, 2009. After that day, she was no longer pregnant and her pregnancy-related conditions ended. Firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination.’
What We Learned: Possession of naturally functioning secondary sex characteristics is a fireable offense; a woman with a fetus has more rights than a woman with a baby.
So, Are Women People? Only when they’re pregnant.
That’s just Case No. 1 of 6! You must read the rest!