Ladylike hobbies: Photographing abortion protesters one Instagram at a time
The hardest thing about being a feminist is the long hours. It's kind of like having a full-time job on top of having a regular job, because you're constantly having to watch your back and educate yourself and others on what lawmakers/the Internet/the general voting public is doing to undo certain unalienable rights. Like most woman's work, a feminist's work is never done. Today on the docket, we're looking at the potential for another round of rights loss, as the Colorado General Assembly will be discussing abortion-ban bill HB 14-1133, a bill that would make it a felony for physicians to perform abortion services or prescribe emergency contraception -- and could result in up to twelve years in prison and a $750,000 fine. Sounds crazy, right? Well, welcome to Feminism 101, a place where even the most insane ideas are treated as reality.
Don't get me wrong: Like all work, feminism can be fun. That's why I've decided to take my little hobby of amateur photography and use it to document the folks who protest my right to have control over my own body. That's right, pro-lifers, I'm looking for you! I want to photograph as many of you as possible and let the world know what you're up to.
Sarah Silverman and Jesus give a quick tutorial on women's dwindling rights in the U.S.
Recently, I was driving along a route I take several times a week and noticed something on the side of the road that I had never before seen in this particular part of town: Dotting the grass between a parking lot and this main thoroughfare was a group of older men, outfitted with signs decrying a woman's right to choose. They kind of resembled the dudes I used to see outside the store I worked at in the mall, slumped over on food-court benches in exhaustion as they waited for their wives to finish shopping. (Women love to shop. P.S. I know this because I am one.)
It wasn't any sort of woman's holiday, and there was nothing being debated politically at the moment, so I was confused as to why the pro-lifers had built an encampment there. But I quickly realized there was a health clinic nearby, where I am guessing abortions may have been performed. Initially, I wanted to thank them for showing me where this office was -- I've been looking for a new gynecologist and had no idea there was one so conveniently located on my usual route!
But instead of thanking them, I just pulled over and decided to document what they were doing. Again, as a lady with hobbies, I like to take pictures of interesting things. I politely let them know I was taking their photograph, though it seemed like they were interested in attention. (As a lady, I also know what it looks like to be an attention-seeker.) Women often dress or act in a certain way that asks for attention, and these guys were totally asking for it.
I snapped a shot with my phone and quickly uploaded it to Instagram. As a member of the underground feminist network, I knew other feminists would be interested in seeing a photo of some old guys wielding crosses and hanging outside one of our spots. Jumping in my car, I drove out of the parking lot and made a U-turn to get back on my merry way. Within the two minutes it took me to maneuver my car, the protesters were gone. Just like that, they had packed up all of their bloody baby dolls and infant clothing on sticks and disappeared. So strange.
Since this abortion bill "thing" is up for debate today at the Capitol, I was thinking about taking the day to do some documenting. As I'm assuming bird-watching works, you've got to go to where the action is to get the best photographs and fine-tune your hobby. I just hope I don't scare away the poor old guys -- after all, I'm just a harmless little woman with an iPhone and a penchant for rabble-rousing over a silly thing like body autonomy.
Be my voyeur (or better yet, let me stalk you) on Twitter: @cocodavies