169 Bodily Autonomy

This week we discuss bodily autonomy. Our culture shows us in many ways that we don’t have true control over our bodies, so it’s no wonder that we can’t imagine a culture based on affirmative consent when we’ve been taught since childhood that there are times our autonomy can be violated or ‘overruled.’

In This Episode

Bodily autonomy is something that we feel is often overlooked in so many ways in our culture. The public, of course, has a lot of discourse around abortion, and we’re starting to talk about rape and consent culture, but there are so many other ways in which our bodily autonomy is violated, especially as children. We thought it would be beneficial to tease out some of these more subtle topics to explore how we are taught that our bodies are not our own since birth, and how this relates to the way in which we deny animals their bodily autonomy as well. Topics discussed include:

  • Prevalence of sexual assault
  • Actors/actresses expected to do anything the director tells them; ex: Al Franken/Leann Tweeden situation
  • Spanking or hitting children; assigning good/bad traits to their behavior
  • Prisons
  • Circumcision (description of foreskin here)
  • Abortion debate
  • How we “atta boy” men/boys who are sexually assaulted by women; ex: Katie Perry kissing 19 year old on American Idol, teachers who sleep with their students
  • Vaccines, medication, birth control – it is difficult to make informed decisions about these things as they are pushed so hard with little to no information given by medical professionals, even upon request
  • Organ donation – oddly, dead bodies seem to have more rights than those with female reproductive organs

In animals (particularly “pets” or companion animals):

  • Spay/neuter
  • Leashes, shock collars
  • Restrict/control food
  • Clip tails, balls, ears
  • Restrict vocalizations
  • Control play time, where to go when
  • Control socialization and environment (leave home all day, tell to go lay down)
  • Take away their family
  • Breed without consent

Joke in the Middle
What kind of fungi loves hot goss (gossip)? (A Nichole Dinato original joke!)

Bitchy Shitshow Ranty-Recaps!
Nichole hilariously recaps the martial arts movie, The Protector

Links and Information

News

8 comments

  • I liked the episode, but there are a few things I want to say. I think your discussion on circumcision was interesting, however I feel like that is one of those things we maybe shouldn’t focus on too much. I feel like it is similar to people who start their veganism/discussion on animal rights etc by talking about and or attacking indigenous people who hunt seals as part of their culture or whatever. Attacking already marginalized groups (in this case Muslims and Jews) for their traditional practices doesn’t really help, we should start by talking about the more privileged groups (white, CiS etc) and their practices etc before attacking people who already face discrimination and critic all the time, listening to this made me kind of uncomfortable to be honest. That are my thoughts about this anyway.
    And one more thing about Nicole’s talk about dogs coming up to people without consent.. I get it, but at the same time that can only be solved by people not having pets anymore because otherwise you have to “control” the dog so much and take away their (please don’t call them it like they are things) autonomy (they obviously don’t have much when being kept as pets in the first place) which is not right either so..
    (and I’m sorry,I’m not a native speaker and don’t always find the best most fitting words to express what I want to say, I hope I didn’t come off as rude or anything)
    I don’t know if you actually ever check the comments on here, I left one another time before like a few months ago and never got a response (I can also understand that even if you’ve read it, maybe you didn’t have the time or energy to answer), but if you do, I would be really interested in your thoughts on my thoughts.
    Enjoy the rest of your week!

    • We weren’t talking about circumcision from a view of attacking Muslim and Jewish culture; we are in the U.S. where almost everybody gets their child circumcised because it’s considered “weird” or “gross” to have an uncircumcised penis. They do it without thinking, simply because it’s the “normal” thing to do. I don’t agree that it’s the last thing we should be talking about; I think it’s extremely important that people not alter their child’s body without their informed consent, full stop. The number of people with penises who are circumcised in the United States right now is about 75-80%, with 90% or so among white males.

      Yes, with the dog thing, you are right – there’s no real way to prevent that except not have pets, which is, for me, the ultimate goal. We did an episode a long time ago about how pet ownership is speciesist. In a perfect world, one day we would stop breeding animals that would need homes and no one would have pets anymore, only animals that they are friends with. I’m not sure what you mean by not referring to dogs like they are “things,” I certainly don’t think dogs are things and thought I made this clear in this section but apologies if that didn’t come through.

      We check the comments when we can but it’s hard to keep up so our ability to read and respond is hit or miss, but we always appreciate people leaving them when they have something to say.

      • Ok I have to apologise then, I did not know that circumcision is that common in the US, I am from a country where almost no one does it, neither to little kids nor as adults, except for religious Muslims and Jews (who both are minorities that get attacked and discriminated a lot here). I should have looked this up beforehand, it just made me feel uncomfortable considering the context I heard it. Maybe you can understand that, I am sorry anyway though.
        The comment about referring to dogs as things was sparked by you saying “it” while talking about them a bunch of times, I know that you don’t think about dogs as objects, but wanted to point out that it would be more sensible to use the pronoun “they” instead.
        I agree with you on the issue of pets, I also listened to your episode about it. It’s just that you said that people should control their dogs better or whatever which to a point might be true, but we also can’t dismiss the bodily autonomy of the animals themselves just like that, that’s what I meant.
        I appreciate your response and I of course understand that you can not check and answer every comment all the time, but thanks anyway.
        I also wanted to say how much I love the show and although – or maybe because?- I don’t agree with everything 100 percent all the time (mostly minor things though), I’ve learned a lot by listening to it and I always enjoy hearing your takes on things, your sidebars and especially your rents!!

  • Also do people in the US actually get the ears of literal babies pierced?!? I did not know that, at what age do they do that?

    • I don’t know that it’s a typical thing in the U.S. in general – I know it’s common among certain communities (Italian-Americans with strong cultural ties, for instance, do this). People do it as young as two months, even younger sometimes!

  • Warning for TMI

    So I’m a trans woman, and I actually don’t have any genital dysphoria, so I’m keeping the girl D. Unfortunately, I was born in the US so I was circumcized. I truly hate that I was circumcized. One of the good things the foreskin does is offer protection from abrasion . As a result of not having one, mine is really sensitive and can hurt actually. I’ve never had that protection. Also when you don’t have a foreskin, you always have to use lube when doing things to yourself. I remember when I was starting to watch porn around 12, and I would see hisg with a foreskin and I was like “wtf???”. It made me feel like I was so different, weird, and messed up for not having one. I felt like a part of my body was taken away, which it was. Having my autonomy trampled over really fucking sucked and caused problems. I’m seeking ways to restore my foreskin now.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, I’m always interested to hear personal experiences with things like this. I was lucky that my second boyfriend was proudly uncircumcised, and was able to educate me about these issues at a young age (not to mention get me to see that foreskin, far from being gross, is awesome and every bit as “normal” as no foreskin).

      I’m so sorry that happened without your consent. We’re getting a lot of push-back about bringing this up but if I can make even one parent reconsider circumcising their kid, it’s worth it to me. <3 Nichole

  • This is an amazing, brilliant, and very touching (no pun intended ;) conversation. I cringe when friends tell their children to hug or kiss me, as I hated kissing and being kissed by adults when I was little. I actually still don’t like it unless I am very close with the person. I don’t know if I will speak up the next time I am uncomfortable, but I feel slightly more empowered to do so, and I am very grateful for this podcast!

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