More on the Fordham Protest to Protect Women’s Rights
Today I Spent 6 Hours in a Clinic for my Vagina
Written by Rachel Field
Today I spent 6 hours in a clinic for my vagina
Welcome to healthcare for women of color in the Bronx 30 women share my experience
We sigh in unison
The TV streams in the only white faces in the room
Maybelline tells me how to do a smokey eye on my eyelids, as if I even have them
Tells us how we should make our hair sleek, as if it ever could Add hundreds of Dollars and hundreds of years of self hate and maybe we would.
And we wait
This wait for me, even though it technically totals 6 hours in reality has been 6 years
The wait for us has been generations
The question breaks from my teeth and I ask it,
Does my body belong to me?
And I answer.
Ms magazine tries to tell me I have choices.
Glossy two fold cutouts arrange birth control like makeup compacts,
White photoshoped models try to look “natural”
Jazzed up with millions in marketing the fine print of side effects blends beautifully with the spiral decoration
Lesser than two evils
Which group of rich white men do I trust ?
The one who capitalizes on my fears
Or the one who capitalizes on my desire to say no!
Mirena, depo provera, bayer, yaz and Yasmin – has my doctor read anything more than the packets of pharmaceutical companies?
No she has not.
The TV is blaring, two women one white and one black whisper secrets in each others ear
I wonder to myself if it is THAT SECRET
No, not that secret.
Not the secret of how the United States sterilized Puerto Rican women in the name of progress
bombed and raped millions of women from The Philippines to Cambodia to South Africa
Or how women of color have to wait 6 hours in a waiting room to be offered names less drugs that cure her fertility problems
Fast forward 10 years and she is spending her life savings on fertility medicine
The secret of genocide.
No not that
No. It is an even juicer secret! The secret is just how easy the nuva ring is to use!
The benefits outweigh the risks a wall of text warns us about the blood clots and the risks of suicide
But my doctors solution is to take another pill, pay another company and maybe the thoughts will subside.
The wait becomes unbearable.
I see the doctor, 2 minutes total.
She tells me “you’re off depo, yes yes maybe this pill. Its low dose”
The mantra continues: The benefits outweigh the risks
I remember the first time I heard this
I was 15 and scared
Too afraid to be pregnant
Too afraid to tell my boyfriend to use condoms
Too afraid to tell my doctor I was scared.
What is osteoporosis? Do you want a baby at 15?
The benefits outweigh the risks.
Too young to recognize Liquid poison.
Fast forward 9 doses. 2 years, 20 pounds . 50 liters of tears. And 60 absences from class.
No these “side effects” do not subside
17 Too afraid to scream, too afraid to say no even though it rippled through every fiber of my being.
I was scared. I told her I didn’t know if hormones were right for me. I am too afraid to tell her no. Tell him no. Tell everyone no!
I realized last week that I never once made a decision about my body.
From my mothers hands to my doctors prescription pad that makes the sound ca-Ching when the government pays her to prescribe depo provera.
And my tax dollars slide safety into the pockets of rich white men who sell short dreams of equality and choice in the form of cancer.
breast cancer, anxiety disorder, depression, eating disorders, and heart disease.
It is no coincidence that the number one health problem for women is now heart disease.
They say the benefits outweigh the risks
Trans women are denied access to control their bodies with these hormones on the basis they’re dangerous, and I can’t get them out of my body because they are “for my own good.” Tell me who is pulling the strings?
If there is profit,
It is not me.
If there is capitalism We are not free
Women deserve better than second rate solutions-profit making endeavors
The TV is blaring,
Advertisement after advertisement after advertisement I want to smash it.
I’ll grab the hammer and sister you take the sickle
And we’ll smash it.
Rachel is a young activist and poet fighting for women’s rights. You can find her at the Fordham Protest to Protect Women’s Rights next Thursday.
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