I consider myself a futurist. I like to theorize how certain events and advancements will play out. I spend lots of time thinking about robots, robo-prostitutes and other weird space shit. Here's a prediction that I would like to share with you: within 10 years, weed will be completely legal in North America. Why/how? PMS.
Every girl I know likes smoking weed right before/during her period because it helps with cramps and whatnot. Even Queen Victoria smoked for that reason. I'm a dude so I can't offer my personal perspective, but I predict a formidable-size women's movement to begin lobbying doctors and policy-makers to offer medicinal weed for monthly cramps - coupled with hard research on the matter by leading female physiologists.
Although they'll be met with great opposition, the gender relations conflict will resolve in their favour in order to avoid far greater civil unrest. And once 50 (51?) per cent of the adult population has access to weed, it won't be long before 100 per cent do.
Too utopian? What are your thoughts?
This sounds just like the kind of idea that a guy who fantasizes about robots and robo-hookers (ensconced in a corduroy beanbag with a giant spliff bobbing between his lips) would cook up. I appreciate that you imagine women are afforded so much credibility and voice when it comes to their reproductive systems. But, Steve, our bodies have long been viewed as the property of the state and continue to be seen this way. For a recent example, check this shit out:
"MPs voted down a Conservative backbencher's motion that sought to resurrect the abortion debate Wednesday, but 10 cabinet ministers were able to show their support for the motion, including Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose.
"In a vote of 203 to 91, Motion 312 was defeated in the House of Commons Wednesday evening."
Sure, Stephen Woodworth was shut down, but the point is, some politicians still think they should get to decide when and where and how a woman can have an abortion.
I believe that men have a place in the reproductive justice movement, but when it comes to this sort of stuff, perhaps they should heed your words: "I'm a dude so I can't offer my personal perspective."
Let's not even get into the fact that a woman's right to have sex for direct financial compensation is still being debated in our country's courts and beyond. It's not the fact that she's selling her body - since time began women using our bodies to generate income has been perfectly legal - but what parts of it are used in the transaction. When it comes to the hole the blood comes out of, people still feel a deep sense of morality-based ownership.
Did you know that in the 1930s priests came out publicly against tampons because they worried, as Karen Houppert wrote in her amazing book The Curse, that women would find them erotic?
(Incidentally, Houppert began researching menstruation when Tambrands, makers of Tampax, reduced the number of plugs in a box from 40 to 32 and raised the price. And they got away with it, with very little civil unrest.)
Houppert is the woman behind the 1995 Village Voice piece Embarrassed To Death: The Hidden Dangers Of The Tampon Industry, which caused a huge controversy not because of the injustices it exposed, but because it featured on the cover a photograph of a woman's lower torso with a tampon string hanging between her legs.
As Houppert noted, aside from this small detail it looked exactly like any other ad for skin cream or perfume. "People freaked," she wrote. And this was her point. "By defining how women think and talk about menstruation, men - the mostly male CEOs of companies manufacturing menstrual products as well as advertising executives, religious leaders and sex-ed authors - have set a tone that shapes women's experiences for them, defining what they are allowed to feel about their bodies and what they're allowed to feel about their sexuality. Menstrual etiquette matters because women are being manipulated."
Though I agree that diverse groups of women protesting for easy access to marijuana (as you may know, women with PMS can get medical marijuana but have to jump through 87 hoops) may be more compelling to some of us than the usual folks - seriously, you front-lines people need to dispense with the foam-and-velour top hats and cannabis garlands - I still don't have faith that our government will listen to their needs and address them with urgency and respect.
As for getting scientists behind this crusade, as Houppert wrote, "Prestige and altruism rarely drive scientists to seek new cures for cramps." Much of the research done around menstruation is not publicly available either, since it's conducted by corporations that produce feminine protection, and it's not in their interests to make that information public.
As a woman (and one whose body is criminalized to boot), I am reluctant to endorse the idea that women's reproductive comfort will be the thing that propels the complete decriminalization or legalization marijuana forward in the next 10 years. For a couple of decades I've been part of formidable women's movements that have lobbied politicians about women's reproductive and sexual rights. We are making some headway, but when we're faced with the myths so many policy-makers maintain about our bodies - ones that the corporations manufacturing related products have no interest in dispelling - we come up against an obstacle that defies sanity: faith-based shame.
If over the next decade as part of this campaign, you can win over politicians who believe there is a God - a male God who doesn't want women to have full agency over their reproductive and sexual rights - then we may make some progress.