Few victories for women’s health have ever happened at the state level, but governors have outdone themselves in recent months — making reproductive rights as inaccessible as possible by mandating invasive procedures, usurping the client-doctor relationship, and cutting funds to both health care and free clinics. So, what to do if you’re a woman (or an ally to women) living in a state that doesn’t trust women with their own bodies? Give them the minute-by-minute updates they obviously want, of course!
At Talking Points Memo, Pema Levy rounds up a multi-state unofficial social media campaign, in which women take to their governor’s Facebook walls to ask every single question that comes into their minds about their gynecological health. (If only they had some expertise about their own bodies, but that’s the government’s job!) The results are angry-feminist comedy gold. A few samples, from the Facebook walls of Bob McDonnell, Rick Perry, Sam Brownback, Tom Corbett, and others:
Hi Governor, I have heard you are the man to come to with female problems, since you are makin’ all the medical decisions in your state. I have the worst cramps. I lay down a lot with a heating pad, but that seems to just make it worse. I also, like Linda up there, have some kind of discharge… she does not mention if hers smells, sometimes mine does, what does that mean?? Could you please tell me what to do, I am just a stupid woman who needs government to tell her what to do with her body.
Governor McDonnell ~ I wrote the other day asking for advice about my excessive discharge, and I haven’t heard back from you yet. I’m sure you’re quite busy, what with all the vaginas in this state. Anyway, it still persists and now there is some itching. Can you recommend a salve or ointment?
Hey Rick! I used to go to Planned Parenthood to get my yearly breast exams. Upon hearing from you that they’re sinners, I’ve resolved to change my ways! So when is your next available appointment? Or is this something that should be handled by my local politician?
I would like your opinion since I can’t make medical decisions myself being a woman and all. Since you know so much about my healthcare, I was wondering if you could tell me how to handle my period since it is very heavy 4 days out of every month. What is the best product so I can have a productive day during these times or do you think I should just stay at home and call in sick or better yet quite my job since I can’t make my own decisions maybe I shouldn’t be working. What is your medical position on this issue?
I just called your office, and they wouldn’t let me schedule a pap smear. I’m confused, aren’t you taking care of all this now?
As our Gender Matters blogger Akiba Solomon wrote last week, the state-level gutting of services like Planned Parenthood disproportionately affects women of color. We love seeing women (and men) finding ways to take a stand for each other, even with nothing more than a Facebook account and a sense of humor.