Voting is for the Girls!

Education GeekMom
Lego Girls Vote – by Kay T. Holt


We raise our children to be the bosses of their own bodies. We teach them to dress and wash and feed themselves, and to keep their private parts private. But if our children happen to be daughters, there’s an oft-neglected aspect of self-care that we must impart: Voting. It may seem strange to count civic participation among the apparatus required for the care and protection of women’s bodies, but it may be the most important tool in our kit.

For those who’ve forgotten the suffragettes: The only reason women have the right to vote in this country — or in any country — is because women insisted and carried on insisting in creative, energetic, and above all incorrigible ways until they moved the law of the land. Which is why voting is “for the girls.”

Or else.

Left to their own devices, powerful men will relieve us of the right — but not the responsibility — of minding our own business. National and state legislatures have declared women’s health issues their top priority since 2010, making what happens between our legs more important than the economy, more important than war, and more important than climate change.

Maybe that’s as it should be; lady parts are pretty amazing, after all.

Self-Portrait by Del Dryden (used with permission)


The trouble is that lawmakers are doing it all wrong. Instead of proposing record numbers of laws to protect and improve women’s access to effective and affordable healthcare, the legislatures are doing everything they can to disenfranchise women short of repealing the 19th amendment.

From the Guttmacher Institute

“Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me, but they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in or what religion they claim. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress. They want to control how we act. They even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies.” —Hillary Clinton

In spite of the progress our country made in recent generations, some people still believe that family planning and our sexual healthcare should NOT be left up to women; that they should be controlled by men. Unfortunately, many men elected to office are either ill-informed about how reproduction and contraception work, or are committed to social agendas which are at odds with the welfare of women. Because ignorance and prejudice in politics are vulnerable against informed and active voters, lawmakers with these conflicts of interest are bound do everything in their power to ensure that more of their like-minded citizens are able to vote than those of us likely to oppose regressive legislation.

“The dumbest thing I ever did was let you learn to read.” –My conservative father to me

I Did Not Raise My Girl To Be A Voter (public domain)


Abortion and other women’s rights are under heavy fire right now because it’s an election year and dividing the voting populace has always been an effective strategy for garnering more votes along one side or another of an issue. Voter suppression, in its various forms, is another effective and equally ugly strategy to manipulate electoral outcomes. Under the guise of preventing election theft (an offense more often linked to bumbling election officials and glitchy vote-counting machines than with individual voters), lawmakers in many states are advancing bills designed to reduce the number of eligible citizens who are able to register and vote.

“Seventy percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to win in 2012 will now come from states with new restrictive voting laws.” —Brennan Center For Justice

Men, who love the Freedom which your Fathers won for You, Pay your Debt by Winning Freedom for your Daughters (public domain)


Like the original Jim Crow laws, these new anti-voting rules disproportionately affect minority groups. They also often make it too costly, complicated, and inconvenient for poor, student, and elderly voters to participate in elections. Because women are more likely than men to be poor, more women than men are students, and more than twice as many women as men live past the age of 85, voter suppression efforts also disproportionately affect women.

In other words: Regardless of our individual opinions around abortion, other forms of birth control, and healthcare reform at large, women must vote. If we don’t exercise that right, it could very well be taken from us.

“I have a right to nothing which another has a right to take away…” —Thomas Jefferson

Citizens United helps corporate puppets and other power-hungry zealots get elected in the first place, but they can only stay in office by our leave. And the regressive laws they pass will stand only if we stop resisting them. Fortunately, recent events remind us that public pressure scares the pants off politicians:

“Female authority is still associated with childhood. The last time a lot of powerful guys saw a powerful woman, they were 8, and they feel regressed to childhood by a powerful woman in a way that they don’t feel with a man.” —Gloria Steinem

Activism has always been key to overcoming suppression. In this age of social media, it is easier than ever to organize against disenfranchisement and other social ills. We can signal-boost for women’s rights on Twitter with just a few clicks and inveigh directly to our representatives on Facebook. It takes a little more effort to expand those conversations on our blogs, but it’s worthwhile for women to speak our minds. And while it’s vital that we support and maintain online efforts to expose and counter attacks on our rights, nothing beats direct action In Real Life.

We simply cannot afford to be passive. Fortunately, the internet also makes it easier to form new partnerships, locate existing groups, and join each other offline for some good old-fashioned peaceful protest.

Unite Against The War On Women 04-28-2012


We’re not the weaker sex, only the disempowered sex. But we have strength of numbers — more than half of the US population is female — we just need to put that strength to good use.

The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution reads:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

In this era of the War on Women, perhaps we should interpret it to include the notion that our rights shall not be usurped on account of having sex.

It Doesn’t ‘Unsex’ Her… (public domain)

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12 thoughts on “Voting is for the Girls!

    1. Yeah. It’s like the song says: “It is a horror / a cruel design / that makes it criminal / a right that is mine”

      What is going on that so many value our lives so little? It’s like they’ve forgotten who gave them life in the first place. *smh*

  1. Awesome post! As great as all the organizing and outrage over all this ridiculousness is, we get nowhere if we don’t follow through with it in the voting box. That is where modern protest has lost it’s power- too often the protests are not followed up by voting action so they are easily ignored by politicians.
    I’m going to be doing the march in April here in LA and I would love to get together with any other geek women and girls going who want to cosplay some of the stronger females in history and geekdom!

    1. That’s a great idea! I’ll be wearing my super uterus t-shirt to the MA protest, but I hope a bunch of ladies follow your lead. And I’d love to see pictures!

  2. I understand women feeling defensive of the rights they’ve worked so hard to win, but I don’t understand the uproar about the mandatory ultrasounds before abortions. Isn’t it the doctor’s job to give his/her patient all the information available regarding a surgical procedure before performing it? Wouldn’t that include an ultrasound in this case? For many other procedures, doctors are required to give their patients relevant information regarding those procedures. Why should this be any different?

    1. You have to ask what information is being gathered and why. The fact that the decision is being taken out of the hands of doctors and patients is also disturbing.

      1. But (correct me if I’m wrong), aren’t doctors already required by some laws to give their patients relevant information before initiating a medical procedure in other medical situations, and doesn’t the patient have to acknowledge that they received said information? Those things are required; they are not in the hands of the doctor or patients. They are laws that are in place to protect patients from malpractice and to protect doctors from malpractice suits. I believe women have the right to make an informed decision, and I worry (based on what I know of the medical industry) that doctors may not always be giving them the information they need. If legal action is necessary to make sure women are able to make an informed decision, then I would consider such a law to be in defense of women’s rights, not against them.

  3. Very well said. Now that my oldest daughter is turning 18 in May, I’m starting to think I was a bad example for how important voting is, and just how strongly I feel about womens rights and our right to vote. I’m doing better with my 13, 10 and 4 year old though!

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