First Lady Laura Bush has zipped off to Africa to congratulate Liberian President Elect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who takes office tomorrow as the country's (and the continent’s) first elected female president.
Mrs. Bush was, of course, asked a few questions about that whole warrantless wiretapping issue that’s been up on the news lately and offered this little pearl:
"I think the American people expect the United States government and the president to do what they can to make sure there's not an attack by foreign terrorists."Actually, Laura, as an American person, I expect the government and the president to obey the Constitution...but that’s not what has me fired up today. Although I do believe this whole NSA business reeks of illegal, intrusive abuse by the federal government, I don’t expect ethical, reasoned considerations from the current
Case in point -- when asked about the criticism of the president’s abstinence-only program in combating HIV/AIDS in Africa, Lady Laura said,
"I really have always been a little bit irritated by criticism of abstinence because abstinence is absolutely, 100 percent effective in fighting a sexually transmittable disease. When girls are not empowered, girls are vulnerable, and their chances of being able to negotiate their sexual life with their partners and to make their partner chose a condom are very low."Her First Lady-ness uttered those words in Ghana today, before trekking off to Liberia. Now, I dunno about you, but if I were going to jump in a plane, fly across the ocean, represent this country and start running my mouth about issues that affect women (and girls) in another country, I might choose to know what the hell I’m talking about.
So, let’s talk about just how empowered the ladies are in Ghana and Liberia.
Let’s look at what UNICEF has to say about the sexual lives of women in Ghana:
38% of women (15-24 years) have comprehensive knowledge of HIV
33% used a condom in their last high risk sexual encounter
46% of the women are literate
25% of these women have access to contraceptives
40% of women in Ghana are forced into married as children
And between 5-7% have been subjected to genital mutilation
Hey, Lady! It doesn’t exactly read like Girl Power has swept the country.
50% of women living in rural Liberia “between the ages of eight and eighteen had undergone this procedure.”That number, by the way, comes from the State Department (thanks, Condi) And UNICEF reports that 58% of young girls in rural areas are forced into marriage, that 39% of the women are literate and that a whopping 10% know about contraceptives.
It occurs to me that uneducated women, forced into marriage with mutilated genitals probably don’t have much say in negotiating their sexual lives. Even if these women knew what condoms were, what they did or how to use them, the issue of HIV/AIDS would not be fully addressed. Just look here, at this country -- the holy lands of Texas rank fifth highest in teen pregnancy rates.
No doubt, the social and political impact of a Liberian female presidency may shift public thinking about hacking-off a young woman’s clitoris. The Justice Department did report that the Liberian civil war seemed to reduce the number of occurrences, but “keep your clitoris, still catch the clap” – isn’t my idea for public health policy.
Public health policy should not be based on some lame-ass-holy-roller-save-your-cherry-for-Jesus mentality. It does not and will not work.
It doesn’t work because people (and I mean everyone on this planet) want to have sex.
People like to fuck – and as long as ignorance, shame, fear and stupidity cloud education and knowledge of this most basic instinct, we’re screwed (pun intended).
You know what, your Ladyship -- I wish to God that when assholes like yourself talk about empowering women, you would focus on the hell and squalor of everyday poverty that so many women face – not only in Africa, but everywhere across this world.
I wish for once, prissy-assed conservative Christians like yourself would stop taking this supposed moral high road on women's rights because you’re leaving women uneducated in the process. You're leaving women physically and emotionally mutilated. You're leaving women to lead desperate, shitty lives. You're leaving them to die.
That’s not my idea of 100% effective.
That’s 100% hypocritical, truly immoral bullshit.
-- posted by: beshemoth on January 19, 2006 03:31 AM
-- posted by: Brad on January 18, 2006 09:05 PM
-- posted by: Calvin on January 17, 2006 10:42 PM
-- posted by: Ellen S on January 17, 2006 05:39 PM