Today solidified why despite being unabashededly pro-choice, I will never bring myself to join hands with western feminism’s version of “abortion freedom”.
I went to a feminist meeting with a friend on her campus (she invited me) and the issue of “overpopulation” comes up and displays women from various nations (particularly Somalia, Ethiopia and India) in which they seem to be struggling to take care of their children and the slideshow insinuated, “if these women had an opportunity to get an abortion, they would”. That message is not only patently false, but it’s also incredibly offense and disingenuous.
Misogyny is a huge issue in many of these nations, no doubt and reproductive rights are deeply stifled and neglected, as well as prenatal care. It’d be foolish to deny such a reality. But, to showcase women with five, six, up to ten children, as somehow being oppressed by their circumstances and painting huge families as leeches and parasites to the well-being and livelihood of women in the third world is dishonest, hyperbolized and frankly, bullshit propaganda. It suggests that women of the third world have absolutely no agency and are somehow forced to have these children (which thereby means that every large family is the cause of rape, essentially), which is demeaning to every woman’s advocacy movement that have taken place in the aforementioned regions. In addition, it portrays brown and black children as a nuisance, something that the world needs less of, which is disgusting, racist and directly aligns with neoimperialist initiatives.
Also, as someone who comes from an African country where the average family bears 4-5 children, I know firsthand that children are assets to their family, above anything. From my experience, women tend to have more children as sort of a safety net; arguably husbands are more likely to die first, so the more children a woman has, the chances of her being taken care of and accounted for are higher. In face the of heightened risks of early death, disease, poverty, war, etc. this is a premeditated move, an action of resistance to ensure one’s survival. In Eritrea, there are children (up to eight years old) who sell gum, tissues and other small merchandise after school to help provide for their families and continue to do so into their teenage years. This, as unpleasant as it may seem, is the reality. Children serve a purpose. They’re an ecomonic resource to their families.
To assert with pictures which provide no nuance, that mothers with their children are helpless, needy and their families repress them is a gross misconstruction of the realities that these women face and it does nothing but assert that western feminism, in all of its narcissism, will ignore and distort context to appeal to its own agenda.