Sex as a Weapon
In the small West African country of Togo women have taken arms, but not with guns. In the midst of political turbulence Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the women’s wing of Let’s Save Togo, rallied her troops, the weapon of choice, sex. Celibacy was the war cry as each woman was asked to refrain from having sex with men for a week. After gaining international attention, many people are questioning its efficacy after having received no response from the President in opposition. In 2003 Liberian women used the same tactic to much success in a campaign for peace, raising the question – how effective is sex as a political weapon?
Around the world and throughout history the feminist movement has used sex as a weapon but now it is rearing its head in a new direction. Obama and Romney have battled over gender issues and LGBT civil rights as a whole, each taking their own political stance, and as the election approaches citizens will choose whose platform they support. With Romney attacking Planned Parenthood (P.P.) and other public welfare agencies many people, women in particular, are severely scrutinizing his platform claiming it would be blatant governmental negligence to disband programs that traditionally service low-income families and communities. After Romney’s stance was publicized, a representative immediately released a statement saying that Romney does not plan to terminate organizations such as Planned Parenthood, but rather suspend or cut subsidies forcing them to rely on private funding.
Unbeknown to many Americans, in February 2011 the House of Representatives passed an amendment that would eliminate $300 million for preventative health services at Planned Parenthood, however the law did not go into effect and P.P. was able to receive funds through the Title X program enacted by the Obama Administration. To this day they are unable to receive federal funding for abortions, a relief to conservative anti-abortion supporters and others who believe Planned Parenthood’s Jaffe Memo is still in effect.
In 1969 P.P. Vice President issued the Jaffe memo to Bernard Berleson, President of the Population Council, a NGO devoted to international social and health research. In it he outlined concise measures for population control, touching on homosexuality, education and public welfare, all of which are issues controlling the stakes until November 6th. To some this document’s relevance coincides to increasing abortion rates, particularly among blacks, and explains why the majority of their clinics service low income communities.
Sex and politics have interestingly become intertwined having a powerful influence over society, which most behavioral scientists, such as Bereleson, would agree is a natural effect as sex is our life force. In Egypt sex and law have met odds as women protest a proposed law permitting husbands to have sex with their wives less than six hours after her death. This story astonished locals and similar to the U.S., when infused with propaganda and sensationalism, politics can seem like a game of smoking mirrors making it easy for even well -informed citizens to become lost in the media’s portrayal and ignore the true facts surrounding the issue. The controversy surrounding women’s rights in Egypt, Togo, and the U.S. each display sex as a weapon differently with the victim being society and the only refuge political change. When the roles are reversed, how do the dynamics change and more importantly how will the nation and the world respond.