Press-Republican

In My Opinion

May 19, 2012

In My Opinion: Cultural issues need attention

Amid the various issues debated as we approach the next elections, two are important to all individuals here, as in the rest of the country: debates over birth control and over interest owed on student loans.

Most people know the surface issues. But I think that, underlying the explicit motivations for the debate are broader cultural issues that need our attention.

Beneath the direct issues of control of reproduction are issues that relate much more broadly to the roles and identities of women. "Keep 'em barefoot and pregnant" is a well-known phrase that refers to the proposed status of women among the men who largely want to control them. In other words, use frequent pregnancy as a means to keep women ignorant, subservient and purely domestic.

Availability of birth control has not only permitted women to feel and express their sexuality, it has given them the means to make their own reproductive choices and, by doing so, take control of their own lives: make time for careers, education, leadership positions, sports and any kind of free expression of their own identities.

As a result, it has also afforded men a wider perception of their potential roles — i.e., it has broadened men's identities, at least among men willing to embrace the new reality.

Limiting access to birth control has a lot to do with attempts to put women back "in their place." In other words, it relates to attempts to restrict the freedoms that women have enjoyed since the birth-control revolution of the 1960s with the introduction of the pill. It also threatens the benefits that men (and non-reproductive women) have all enjoyed from the broader range of thought and experience that women have contributed to our society. (Note the number of positions of power held by women in corporations — obviously reflecting recognition of their contributions — despite remaining prejudices about women's "limitations" producing a "glass ceiling" on women's careers, artificially limiting their opportunities. The later acts as affirmative action for white males.)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
In My Opinion
  • In My Opinion: Supreme Court ruling usurps control

    The Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that will take birth control out of the hands of North Country women who need it, writes Tess Barker, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York Inc..

    July 16, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Memorial Day created to honor veterans

    As an U.S. Air Force veteran and department officer of the American Legion, I feel I must respond to a statement made June 30 in Speakout about Memorial Day, writes Clinton County Veterans Service Agency Director Steven Bowman.

    July 14, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Adirondack Health partners to aid aging population

    For years, our region and communities across the country have relied on nursing homes to care for people who may no longer be able to live on their own or may require a customized short-term rehabilitation program following surgery or a major health event, writes Adirondack Health CEO Chandler Ralph.

    June 24, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Copyrights help people be informed

    Every day, city hall reporters at local newspapers distill hours of city council meetings into cogent stories that inform readers about how their elected officials are spending their tax dollars.

    May 21, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Study of French language crucial

    In the current budget crises, proposals to reduce or eliminate French language instruction have been recommended in a number of school districts.

    May 13, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Project benefits economy, environment

    No doubt about it, Vermonters are passionate about the Green Mountain state. That's a healthy sign of an engaged citizenry, writes Vermont Gas CEO Don Gilbert.

    May 6, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Spirit Airlines addressing complaint rate

    Articles were recently published highlighting that Spirit Airlines has the highest Department of Transportation customer complaint rate among U.S. airlines, writes Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza.

    April 22, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Integration should be future of health care

    For several years now, we have heard discussion about the effectiveness and efficiencies expected from the Affordable Care Act, writes Behavioral Health Services North CEO Craig Amoth.

    April 21, 2014

  • In My Opinion Follow Vt. lead on prescription drugs

    Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin recently called attention to a national crisis when he dedicated his entire State of the State message to address what he called Vermont's "full-blown heroin crisis," writes John Coppola of New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers Inc.

    March 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Rail companies must take action

    I write to commend emergency response officials in Essex County for taking a proactive approach to the increasing number of freight trains carrying crude oil through our communities on the Canadian Pacific line, as described in the Feb, 23 article, "Essex County developing disaster-response plans as rail traffic grows," writes Rep. Bill Owens.

    March 4, 2014