This is a post about a small thing that’s really a big thing.

The small thing is that Beyoncé changed the lyrics to a song – she removed the word “spaz” from the song “Heated” on her newest album, because it’s derogatory to people with neural issues. This is following a similar move by Lizzo, who did the same out of respect for people with disabilities. It’s a nice thing to do.

Regarding this story Monica Lewinsky observed on her twitter feed:

Partition is a 10-year-old rap song by Beyoncé where she uses a well-established rap euphemism that uses Monica Lewinsky’s name. Monica has been referenced in 125 rap songs, as she mentions occasionally on social media.

Look at the lyrics for the 125 rap songs where Monica is mentioned – they are particularly brutal towards all women’s sexuality, with Monica as a stand-in for that brutality. The rap songs are referencing men enjoying a sex act without giving anything to a woman in return. In the songs, the rapper’s visualize themselves as Bill Clinton, the woman performing oral sex on them as Monica, and enjoying the feeling of power of taking sex & pleasure without giving it. That’s what Monica’s name symbolizes in rap. A power act of taking from and denying women.

When Beyoncé uses it, it’s out of sync, because Beyoncé is referencing that rap history in a song celebrating her own sexuality, using a derogatory reference. It’s a bit of a whiplash. I think Beyoncé is reasonable enough to see, looking at her own life, and at the women around her, to see that might be an issue to use a woman’s name as a sex act.

The reason this is a big thing is because we are at a political nexus where women enjoying their sexuality is now a criminal act. We’ve taking the United States back to 1850 and that book with the red letter on it.

Women are not now free to enjoy their sexuality. Which is what several generations of women have been doing successfully since Roe v. Wade. Which means men are not now free to enjoy their sexuality either. It’s a drastic sea-change in how we engage as sexual human beings. And it affects both men and women, but only women appear to be bracing themselves for it.

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Criminal Penalties for women concieving out of wedlock

Yep, that’s what state lawmaker Patricia Miller (R) is proposing legislation for here in Indiana. A bill will be heard by the Health Finance Commission intended to restrict any form of “assisted reproduction” defined as “causing pregnancy by means other than sexual intercourse, including intrauterine insemination, donation of an egg, donation of an embryo, in-vitro fertilization and transfer of an embryo, and sperm injection.” These types of reproduction would only be allowed to married women who pass a court petition and receive a “gestational certificate.”

According to the current draft of the legislation, an intended parent “who knowingly or willingly participates in an artificial reproduction procedure” without court approval,”
commits unauthorized reproduction, a Class B misdemeanor.” The criminal charges will be the same for physicians who commit “unauthorized practice of artificial reproduction.”

The married parents who might want to participate in “assisted reproduction” are in for some bad news too: some of the required information includes the fertility history of the parents, education and employment information, hobbies, personality descriptions, verification of marital status, child care plans, letter of reference and criminal history checks. A description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents is also required, including individual participation in faith-based or church activities.

A really excellent analysis of how many people are affected and how is posted on
The main intent is to keep lesbians from having kids, but the bill affects unmarried heterosexual women as well, so sit up and take notice single women in Indiana.

Read text of the proposed legislation in this downloadable PDF file.

Article by Laura McPhee in Nuvo
An article about this topic
IndyStar article
The Health Finance Commission
Contact your representative

As several bloggers have pointed out, this legislation would have made Christ’s conception illegal.

“We did want to address the issue of whether or not the law should allow single people to be parents. Studies have shown that a child raised by both parents – a mother and a father – do better. So, we do want to have laws that protect the children,” Miller explained.

Okay — this has got to stop: ” Studies have shown that a child raised by both parents – a mother and a father – do better.”

LIE LIE LIE LIE. BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT. DEBUNKED DEBUNKED DEBUNKED DEBUNKED DEBUNKED. It’s a blatant falsehood, people. Studies show no such thing. In fact, studies show the exact opposite; that children raised in households with single parents or with two parents of the same gender do just as well, are just as happy and well-adjusted as kids that grow up with a mom and a dad.


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The Magdalene Sisters Documentary

I wrote a few months back about the Magdelene Laundries – In Mid-20th Century Ireland (until the last one closed in 1996), the Catholic Church ran commercial laundries, run by nuns, that were essentially prisons for wayward girls, who were deposited there by their families when they became pregnant, got in trouble or otherwise upset society.

The story of these prisons is now being told in a British documentary, Sex in a Cold Climate by Steven Humphries, and was then made into an award-winning (but denounced by the Catholic Church, big surprise) movie, The Magdalene Sisters by Peter Mullens, which is currently playing in the United States. I happened to run across an interesting article about the movie in Slate, and it occurred to me that, had I been born a few years earlier and in the wrong country, I would have been one of those girls.

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The Magdalene Laundries and the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has a lot more to answer for than abuse of altar boys. For years the Catholic Church in Ireland enslaved young women in “Magdalene laundries” run by convents, where they were unpaid prisoners forced to work their entire lives for the Church. The last of these laundries closed in 1996.

Ireland’s Dirty Laundry
Wounds Still Fresh For Thousands of Women Enslaved by the Catholic Church
By Hilary Brown and Matt McGarry

C O R K, Ireland, Jan. 26
— A sudden spate of TV exposés, docudramas and a major motion picture have brought to light one of the most shocking episodes in the history of the Catholic Church in Ireland — the existence of the now-notorious “Magdalene laundries,” a sanctified form of slavery.

Operated by the Sisters of the Magdalene Order, the laundries were virtual slave labor camps for generations of young girls thought to be unfit to live in Irish society.

Girls who had become pregnant, even from rape, girls who were illegitimate, or orphaned, or just plain simple-minded, girls who were too pretty and therefore in “moral danger” all ran the risk of being locked up and put to work, without pay, in profit-making, convent laundries, to “wash away their sins.”

They were completely cut off from their families, and many lost touch with them forever.

Stripped of their identities, the girls were given numbers instead of names. They were forbidden to speak, except to pray. If they broke any rule or tried to escape, the nuns beat them over the head with heavy iron keys, put them into solitary confinement or shipped them off to a mental hospital.

Over a period of 150 years, an estimated 30,000 women were forced into this brutal penance, carried out in secret, behind high convent walls.

Towards the end of the 20th century, the laundries began to close, as the power of the Church in Ireland diminished and as social attitudes became less puritanical. Incredibly, the last Magdalene laundry to shut down was in 1996.

‘We Were the Living Dead’

Mary Norris, 69, was committed to a convent laundry in Cork for two years. An articulate, intelligent woman, she was transferred from an orphanage at age 15 because she was “disobedient.” Her number was 30.

On one occasion, she said, the nuns actually ordered the girls to pray for those held in Soviet prison camps, a bitter irony, as she considers the convent laundries “an Irish gulag.”

Though it was clearly very painful for her, she took us around the convent — now abandoned — where she had suffered so much.

“In the winter, it was freezing cold, and in the summer, it was like the desert, it was so hot with the steam,” she said. “We were the living dead. We weren’t treated as human beings, as individuals. We were just part of the workforce. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Guilt by Illegitimacy

Sadie Williams, 64, spent a total of four years in two different convent laundries. She was 14 when she was virtually kidnapped by two women who had determined that she was “in moral danger.” Williams liked to take a walk in the evenings, after working all day at a bed and breakfast in Dublin. She said the women considered her much too attractive to stay out of trouble.

She was only 14 when she ended up in a convent laundry outside town as “Number 100,” and locked into a cell each night. She says she almost never saw daylight.

“Oh, it was dreadful,” she said. “I cried and cried all the time, and kept asking why, why wasn’t I getting out. And I would write begging letters to my mother. When I finally got out, she was already dead and buried three years. But I was never told, even though I was writing, still writing letters to her.”

She has since learned that the nuns stopped all her mail. Her mother wasn’t married, so Sadie was considered to be guilty of the sin of illegitimacy.

No Apology

There have been no direct reparations from the Irish Catholic Church to the tens of thousands of women it used as slave labor. Nor has there been a formal apology. It’s not even known how many victims of the Magdalene laundries are still alive: they are not organized, and many don’t want to talk about this terrible part of their past.

Very few Churchmen in Ireland will comment on the scandal. An exception is Willie Walsh, the Bishop of Killaloe. Over a cup of tea in his residence, he said that it is “a source of pain and shame.”

“These girls were rejected by society, and the Church in some way thought it was giving refuge to these girls,” he says. “I suppose … the Magdalene laundries was in some instances a form of slavery.”

The Rev. Patrick O’Donovan is more outspoken.

“It’s an appalling scandal,” he says. “You could compare them to concentration camps. … The nuns thought they were doing good. … They didn’t realize the damage they were doing.”

Mary Norris has campaigned to have a simple memorial built in the convent where she was held. Thirty names are engraved on a simple headstone; dating from 1876 to 1973. Some women spent their entire lives in these institutions. Having been cut off from their families, they had nowhere to go.

Norris says she no longer hates the nuns who oppressed her. “If I hated them,” she says, “they’d still be winning. They’d still have control over me.”

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