Be a Needle, Not a Haystack

A call for more men to join the fight for reproductive justice

Credit: Phil Hearing on Unsplash

We need more men to show up in the fight for reproductive rights.

Several months back, some friends of mine accidentally and brilliantly coined a term for lazy or otherwise unimpressive men. Noting that looking for a good dude was like looking for a needle in a haystack, we laughed at the image of a haystack of men — bland, straw-colored bodies laying unremarkably between a barn and a horse corral.

Abortion is often described as a “woman’s issue” but it effects us all.

Oh, the problems with the term “woman’s issue.”

An Imaginative Exercise

I understand it may be difficult to imagine life in a non-male body, so I’ll help you out by laying out some key hallmarks of a female-bodied experience.

It’s okay if you don’t know what to do — as long as you do something anyway.

Here are 5 ideas to get you started.

  1. Educate yourself about reproductive justice. Apportion some of the time you’d otherwise spend on social media, video games or TV to reading information from the front lines. Seek to understand those whose voices so often go unheard.
  2. Put your money towards the cause. Donate to Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Center for Reproductive Rights or the Yellowhammer Fund.
  3. Listen to the people in your life whose bodies are under attack. I’m not saying you want to go around polling your co-workers or neighbors about whether or not they’ve had an abortion. But if you’ve got a girlfriend or wife or partner or friend — someone you know and care about — who has expressed any kind of anxiety, incredulity or dismay about this movement to restrict their bodily autonomy, listen as they speak. Hear their pain, worry, or anger without trying to soothe or change it. There is power in being seen.
  4. Find a progressive candidate running for local office who supports reproductive freedom and support them. Talk to them, learn their platform, and if you believe in what they say, volunteer, donate, and retweet their message ad nauseum.
  5. Call your damn Senator. I know — calling people is scary. Calling a very busy person who you may have never met face to face could be downright terrifying. I’m sorry, but you have to get over it. Whether you agree with them or not, politicians are the ones shaping law and policy that shape all of our lives. If you want certain rights or liberties to be defended, you’ve got to have some kind of relationship with your legislators. But you don’t have to figure it out on your own. NARAL Pro-Choice has a whole campaign to include men in this movement (though they have some work to do to make their efforts more trans-inclusive). And if you haven’t yet signed up for action alerts with Planned Parenthood Action Fund, do it. No really — do it. They will send you text messages that literally tell you what to do and say to support reproductive health care.

Gender — Relationships — Doing your own thing without pissing off everybody else.

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