My Body, My Choice: the Importance of Bodily Anatomy

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“20 minutes of fame had a severe impact on my son” (Hunt), those 20 minutes of fame created a lifetime of hurt for the victim. For women who have been sexually assaulted, their credibility is questioned, fundamental human rights seem to longer apply, and our society is built to encourage this behavior of dismissing women. In a predominantly misogynistic society, women’s rights over their bodies are often ignored, creating a culture of rape and dehumanization of assault victims.

To begin, throughout history the stigma surrounding sexual assault survivors has not evolved, a victim isyou are persecuted if you report it, and cruscified if you do not. Our society encourages the maturity of girls from a young age much sooner than boys, they are told girls will mature quicker, and boys will be boys. In instances where a young boy would push a girl around, she is told that it is because he likes her. This mentality encourages the behavior seen through sexual assault, victim-blaming, the shame, and self-blame survivors experience. This can be seen in the Brock Turner case, where “Rape continues to be seen as some minor regrettable mistake,” and that “courts need to stop giving attackers the excuse that boys will be boys, and start giving victims the assurance that rape will be rape.”(CTV) They focus on the action itself rather than long life consequences the survivor will have to face, that it was just a minor offense. The whole process of a rape kit the survivor’s body I looked at like a crime scene rather than a human bring.

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Bodily autonomy is a human right, to govern decisions protecting the control one has over their bodies, yet this right does not seem to apply to a woman when an unborn child is added to the equation. In the constitution of Canada, it is known as bodily integrity; they stress the importance of a citizen’s autonomy. A potential organ donor can save someone’s life, yet we still ask for consent. Why is bodily autonomy applied more strictly to a dead body than a living woman? “My body, my choice,” no longer applies in regards to women. This fundamental right was put in place for all members of society, yet a woman’s rights over her body are often ignored. This is demonstrated through the pro-life argument, which argues that the unborn child is their own individual, the fetus is merely using the mother for development. That abortion is the murder of an individual who doesn’t have the capacity to consent. Arguing the child’s bodily autonomy. This is justified in “this can be seen in the area of Obstetric control within the law and the basic rights and freedoms allowed to women during the childbirth process.”(Lynne) This can be seen in some states in the United States, where a mother must ask permission from the father of the child who may or may not be present, and in some cases, the mother’s rapist. If the father does not give consent, the mother is then forced to give birth to a child that may have been conceived from rape. Women lose the protection and support of the law, which in turn looks at how women’s bodily autonomy is not regulated within the state.

In society, women are expected to be submissive; they are represented as small, weak, and gentle. This representation encourages this submissive culture, that can be defined by female hegemony. Female hegemony proposes to explain how and why men maintain social roles over women and other gender identities. Female hegemony installs this idea of women seen as purely as a mother; they are idealised and exoticized in a predominantly male-powered world. This culture can be justified through the representation of religion in western cultures. This can be seen when Eve was created from the rib of Adam; she is ‘dependant’ because she would not exist without him. In the Bible, proverbs 2:12 first-person Timothy states, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” Women are represented as someone’s wife, someone’s daughter, a mother. They are represented by who they are connected to; they are not seen as a separate individual. They are seen as incapable and told to be silent. The church had the power to control citizens’ beliefs and fears, and the government always agreed with the church, “church and state.” The law dictates a society’s freedom, thus dictating society’s ideologies.

This culture of misogyny in our society is a catalyst to the dehumanization of assault victims, the denial of a woman’s bodily autonomy, and how female hegemony demonstrates the submissive role women play in society. The demographics of power throughout history has been predominantly white cis-gendered men; this trend has continued into today’s society. In order to change a society’s ideology, you must hold the people in power accountable, for they are responsible for creating change.  

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