Something struck me the second time I was giving birth. Dammit, women are powerful. I mean majestically, physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually powerful. We can give life! Having done it twice, it’s hard to believe that we are disempowered. It’s hard to believe that what is truly the most incredible thing a human can do with their body has been stolen from us, re-defined as ugly, dirty, embarrassing or unnatural. It doesn’t matter if a woman has children or not, this power is in us. We’re born with this power and it’s something that can’t be taken away. So why are we still disempowered? Why do we still make substantially less than men for the same work? Why is our work as mothers not valued? Why is our sexuality still not ours? Why why why are decisions having to do with our bodies, our health, and our future still legislated by men? WHY are there barely 17% of the total House seats held by women? WHY are we told we aren’t being “ladylike” when we embrace our power (thank you for that one Todd Akin)? The WHY’S go on ad nauseum… but I guess my biggest question is, why are women not more jazzed about this election? Why are we not screaming from the rooftops that each and every one of us needs to VOTE?

There has been a barrage of anti-woman sentiment out there this year. And I suppose one noteworthy point to begin with, is that I think we shocked them this time. The far right thought they could get away with spewing all this anti-women malarkey and that we would just let it slide. But what happened this time was awesome. Women pushed back! The left pushed back! Now the right-wingers are running from many of these statements and old boys club sentiment as fast as they can. But we have to keep this momentum going. We have one month ladies. Can we join forces and make this thing a landslide?

What I have noticed and find shocking, is the lack of enthusiasm surrounding this election. Ladies, if you aren’t riled up now, what’s it gonna take? It’s like sand being kicked in your face in the playground by a bully and just sitting there. Even worse, it’s like sand being kicked in your child’s face by the playground bully and you, their mom, just sitting there. That’s what this boils down to. The names they are calling Sandra Fluke? That’s us. The rights they are trying to strip away? Those are ours! The casual nature in which they try to “define” rape, or violence, or abuse? We are those women. Our safety is at stake. Our silence is consent and our vote is our voice. Let’s get active ladies. Let’s get out every vote we can. Let’s make this election a mandate. A mandate to finally ensure women the respect, dignity and equality we all deserve! This is now. This is our call to action. Let’s finally, once and for all, take back the power that is so inherently and naturally ours!

In case you need a refresher course, here are just a few of the greatest, anti-woman hits from the last few months. Thank you Katrina vanden Heuvel** for this list of grievances:

*January 2012: Susan B.Komen would stop providing funds to Planned Parenthood. After outrage, Komen reversed decision.

* Feb. 2012: House Republicans organized a hearing on access to contraception and invited no women. 5 men shared their “expertise” about the issue.

* Feb. 2012: When Sandra Fluke protested being left off this panel, Rush Limbaugh hurled crude comments at her. Including calling her a “slut” and demanding women post “sex tapes” online if they want free contraception.

* Feb. 2012: When asked to comment on Limbaugh’s comments, Mitt Romney merely stated it’s not the language he would have used.

* Feb. 2012: Foster Friess stated he didn’t understand what the contraception fuss was about. “Back in my days, they’d use Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t costly.”

* Feb. 2012 (busy anti-woman month!) The Virginia House of Delegates tried to pass a measure requiring women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before having an abortion. The uproar this caused forced them to scale back, but the ultrasound bill holds.

* August 2012: Republican Senate Candidate Todd Akin said on TV “ If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing [pregnancy] down. Although many Republicans initially distanced themselves from Akin and his comment, those same folks are now back supporting him.

* Sept. 2012: GOP Convention platform called for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion.

And dang it, did you see the debate last night?! All of the rights that I, as a woman, have taken for granted were not even mentioned! To share just a few: the right to an abortion, the right to free health care (if necessary), the right to marry whom I choose, the general upward mobility, equality and well being of women. The right to enjoy Sesame Street and Big Bird, for crying out loud!  I worry that my daughter won’t be able to take these same rights for granted.  I worry that she will have to fight for ground we believed we already had covered. I worry about this for all of you. This is no time to stand by. I know you have the power to organize, ladies…….so let’s do this!

Sarah Sophie

** See Katrina vanden Heuvel’s article “A New ‘Year Of The Woman” for more inspiration.

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