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 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

  • In My Opinion: Communal energy conservation urged

    Recently, several articles appeared in the Press-Republican about the City of Plattsburgh's electric rates and energy policies, writes SUNY Plattsburgh assistant professor Curt Gervich.

    March 3, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Support gave boost to broadcasting

    As many of you know, this is my 40th and final year of broadcasting Plattsburgh State Cardinal Hockey, writes WIRY broadcaster Ducky Drake.

    February 20, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Prison closures will increase danger

    In January, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision released its annual report on the state of New York's prisons, writes NYSCOPBA President Donn Rowe.

    February 18, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Everyone must commit to end smoking

    Smoking-related illnesses will cause 5.6 million children alive today to die prematurely unless smoking rates drop, the latest Surgeon General's Report says, write no-smoking advocates Glenn Pareira and Kendra Gertsch.

    February 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: The right approach to youth sports

    Another youth basketball season is upon us, writes Town of Ellenburg Youth Director Chris Brooks. Local counties do a great job of organizing these leagues for our children to be able to participate and learn skills at a young age.

    January 8, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Fair evacuation plan needs review

    A year has come and gone with another great professional job done by our Clinton County Fair management, putting on its best yet entertainment.

    January 7, 2014

  • In My Opinion: New care models for aging population

    Our communities are experiencing a growing percentage of older residents, who are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to health-care decisions, according to the administrators of local nursing homes.

    December 24, 2013

  • In My Opinion: Respect diversity of gender November is Transgender Awareness Month across the United States -- a time to celebrate the diversity of gender that many Americans, and especially many New Yorkers, share.

    November 25, 2013