Bette Midler, now best known as an actress, got her start singing at a New York gay bathhouse (often accompanied by Barry Manilow), the Continental Baths, in the early 1970s. Other performers who entertained the bathers included the Pointer Sisters, Gloria Gaynor, Cab Calloway, the New York Dolls, Dorothy Lamour, Fred Payne, the Andrews Sisters, Lesley Gore, Patti Page, Darlene Love, Connie Francis, The Ronettes, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Manhattan Transfer, Labelle... a good time was had by all. And Bette has come a long way since then, now a regular tormentor of Señor Trumpanzee.
This weekend, though, she's got the GOP in her sites, urging women to shut off the tap to sex until women's choice is restored in Texas.
Yeah, she's no fan of the Republican Party, even though the Continental was always filled with Republican closet cases (except when the New York Dolls played).
The cruelty of the GOP is endless," she wrote on Friday. "We are suffering COVID-19, hurricanes, apocalyptic flooding, wildfires from hell, joblessness, homelessness, evictions, racial strife, and this pick this hideous time to pile on yet another shock to women, by taking away their right to choose." But Bette wasn't the first one who thought of this tactic. Just over 3 years ago, Dorothy Reik wrote about the Lysistrata Soution-- abstinence as an act of resistance. THREE YEARS AGO! Looks at this:
In 411 BC the comic playwright Aristophanes' heroine Lysistrata led her followers on a sex strike to force an end to the Pelopponesian wars. It was a comedy then but in 2003, Leymah Gbowee led the women of Liberia in a sex strike to end their civil war. It worked and she won the Nobel Prize. Centuries ago, in 1600, Iroquois women stuck to stop tribal wars. They got what they were striking for. In Kenya, in 2009, the women struck and the fighting in their country ended in one week!
Today the ruling men (and some women) of this country are engaged in a different kind of war-- not a war against other men but a war against women-- and the deciding battle is about to be fought. In our case it will be fought in the Senate when Mitch McConnell tries to push through a new Trump appointed justice who will overturn Roe v Wade. Drastic measures are called for! Some a sex strike can't win because we don't have a specific demand but we do-- keeping abortion legal!
For years advocating abstinence has been the work of hypocritical "conservatives" who send their mistresses to get abortions while fighting to outlaw them and to keep birth control from vulnerable, abstinence indoctrinated teens. But it is time we realize that abstinence in this situation is not capitulation-- it is an act of non-violent resistance. When I was young such resistance was common-- there were no pills and abortion was illegal everywhere. Movie stars did not have babies out of wedlock. Single motherhood was not a "thing." It was a disgrace-- so we resisted. I resisted!
While some abortions are to end planned pregnancies which cannot for medical reasons be carried to term, most are for unwanted aka "unintended" pregnancies. Women who don't have easy, affordable access to abortion have an simple way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy the same way we did before the pill, before abortion on demand-- don't have sex, resist! These unwanted pregnancies do not occur by immaculate conception. And it's not just abortion that these controlling misogynists (yes, that is what they are) want to outlaw-- they want to make reliable birth control hard to get. No woman who lives in a state which limits abortion and/or access to contraception, should risk pregnancy! Let the men beg, plead, threaten. If you fear violence then maybe you should not even be with that guy! But those of us in more liberal states have to step up too. "Sisterhood is strong" we say. How strong? Will women who can easily access abortion and contraception strike along with their not so fortunate sisters? I discussed this with Alan Grayson who agreed that this conversation should take place "but don't tell Dena (his wife)." "You live in Florida" I reminded him. He groaned.
To hear these "pro-life" so-called "men" crying about ripping babies from wombs while they are themselves ripping babies from their mothers' breasts down at the border should be enough to drive any thinking women to drastic action. So we can keep marching, calling our representatives, sending money to NOW and Planned Parenthood-- or we can get on Facebook and twitter and get this done. It won't take long! Remember-- in Kenya it only took a week for resistance to win!