Jessica Valenti, a radical feminist blogger at the Guardian and Feministing, routinely raises the eyebrows of critical thinkers with her long-winded rants on gender relations and sexual inequality. She reached a new low, however, with her recent opinion piece meant to expose the unequal treatment of men and women in the United States.
In an attempt at satire, Valenti depicts a dystopia in which men are treated just as badly as women. As part of her portrayal, she refers to the 72-hour waiting period for abortions that Missouri recently mandated and imagines what she believes to be an equivalent scenario for men.
She tells men:
“Before you’d be allowed to actually have sex, what if you had to wait 72 hours to make sure that’s really what you wanted to do?”
What? Waiting to undergo a medical procedure, one that indisputably ends a human life, is comparable to waiting to… have intercourse?
She then adds:
“It’s a serious decision after all… and men are not generally known for their ability to think while aroused.”
According to Valenti, in a world where sexism equally exploit both sexes, men have to wait for sex while women wait for abortions, and men’s sexual arousal is comparable to women’s anguish while waiting to terminate pregnancies.
Though her aim is to demonstrate the supposed sexism of the waiting period mandate, she only succeeds in insulting every woman who has ever endured turmoil over her decision to end a pregnancy. After all, her decision is apparently not much different from the decision to have sex, and any anxiety she experiences is comparable to the discomfort of prolonged sexual arousal.
Satire, the use of irony to expose others’ ignorance, is woefully misused by Valenti. If sex were comparable to abortion, she would have made an incisive analogy. If the agony of a woman considering abortion were comparable to a man’s sexual desire, she would have made an insightful point. As it is, the only point she makes is that she possesses little understanding of the nuanced, often conflicting emotions of women distressed by unwanted pregnancies. The only ignorance she exposes is her own.
Jessica, you demean women by your cavalier and callous comparison of sex with abortion.