Senior Editor

Sometimes, I think I’m way too young to be this angry.

But the thing is, listening to the way some people talk about contraception and women’s rights, I’d say there’s a lot to be angry about.
It’s common knowledge that Mitt Romney wants Planned Parenthood defunded.

Planned Parenthood, which gets about 40 percent of its funding from federal and state governments, provides women and girls with an array of amenities related to sexual health: pregnancy tests, HIV and STD testing, birth control, emergency contraception, and safe and legal abortions.

This issue of “women’s rights” and each candidate’s stance on the matter seems to have risen to prominence lately, given that Election Day is on the horizon.

But frankly, my beef is not with just Romney.

I’ve got a beef with any politician who stands on a podium anywhere and discusses what goes on below my belt in the first place.

I’ve got a beef with the guy on the street who’s appraising my body like it’s about to be auctioned off on eBay at an unbeatable price.

I’ve got even more of a beef with this other guy on the street, who’s catcalling me like I’m not a sentient, cognitive being, because more than likely, in his eyes, I’m not.

What I’ve really got a beef with is the simple fact that men, you will never, ever know what it’s like to be a woman.

Let’s start with the obvious, the biological.

You’ll never know what it’s like to have a period, and you’ll never know what it’s like to push a human being out of an organ that’s roughly the size of an almond, when relaxed.

Now let’s get emotional.

You’ll never know what it’s like to be checked out by the man you babysit for, when you’re 14 years old.

You’ll never know what it’s like to be catcalled; one minute, you’re strutting down the street on the way to the gym, or to work, or to lunch with friends, completely in control of your life, and the next minute, some bearded loser on the street is whistling or shouting obscenities at you, making you feel small and vulnerable.

Now, let’s get political.

Never once, never, has the issue of what a man chooses to do with his penis been a social issue, meaning a part of a candidate’s platform, or a topic of discussion at a presidential debate.

However, what my mother, my friends, my sisters, myself, what we choose to do with our bodies is something that every man can have an opinion about.

The fact is, hundreds of years of women’s bodies being associated with their value as a human being leaves lasting effects, effects that every day I’m more aware of, and every day, I’m more disgusted with … like this inextricable male need to constantly put women “in their place.”

The fact is, my body has felt the weight of the male gaze since I hit puberty, since it first became apparent that I was “fit for reproduction.”

By gaze, I don’t just mean the cheap, yet palpable appraisal; I mean the feeling that my body is like some sort of metaphorical cookie jar that anyone can stick their hands in, because apparently, my body is something that everyone has the right to debate about and weigh in on.
No. No. A hundred times no. I’m much more than just “fit for reproduction.”

But Romney, by defunding Planned Parenthood, you’re saying that I can’t freely exercise my right to be a sexual being, you’re saying child-bearing is all I’m made for.

But guys on the street, by catcalling me, you’re treating me like there’s not a person inside of this body.

But it’s my body. You can’t tell me that I can’t have sex for whatever reason I see fit, which for right now, won’t be for the purpose of creating life.

You can’t tell me that I can’t take a pill every day to keep me from ovulating.

You can’t tell me what to do. It’s my body, but I’m more than just a body.

So keep your hands out of my cookie jar.

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