On not having a choice
About this time last year I started to hear the phrase “hot girl summer.”
The phrase wasn’t new. It went back to Megan Thee Stallion’s song by the same name.
I Duck Duck Went the phrase and the internet tells me that her fans came up with the phrase based on the singer referring to herself as “Hot Girl Meg” and she liked it and turned it into a song three years ago.
With a break in COVID coming about this time last year you started seeing the meme everywhere.
Young single girls announced that they were ready for a hot girl summer.
As usual, I didn’t quite understand the meme and needed it explained to me.
The same search returned many results explaining that “hot girl summer” means that the person was “ready to party, have fun with their friends, be confident, and live their best life.”
As the COVID restrictions were coming off, they were ready to take back control.
I wasn’t feeling ready to party, but I too was ready to have fun with my friends, be confident, and live my best life.
I was ready for my hot dad summer.
Spoiler alert - I didn’t have a hot dad summer.
We got another COVID surge and, except for meeting friends one at a time outdoors for coffee, I spent most of the summer isolated or masked.
COVID is, in some ways, a great equalizer. We all must consider the same things. COVID doesn’t care if you’re a man, a woman, straight, gay, trans, or whatever. It’s a virus - it truly doesn’t see color.
Hot girl and hot dad summer are not about sexual experience or expression but as the weather turns warm and COVID takes another break I think again about a hot summer and how things differ between women and men.
The risk in physical intimacy is not equal and is often not shared and it’s only going to get worse.
In the US we’ve spent the week hearing about what’s next now that the decision reversing Roe was leaked. Gay rights, gay marriage, trans rights, and interracial marriage might all be on the table.
Some states are already talking about making some forms of contraception illegal.
States have and are passing trigger laws that go into effect when the ruling is released presumably at the end of this term as the justices head out of down.
Many of these laws have no exception for rape or incest and don’t concern themselves with the safety of the mother.
None of these laws hold the male partner responsible in any way.
Life, they say, begins at conception. But, they only regulate one of the two parties responsible - the one who already bore the risks and responsibility.
If life begins at conception, why isn’t the male participant held responsible for the result?
The woman is required to bring the baby to term with all of the risks to her health, impact on her opportunities and finances, and obligations to the child.
Why does the law not require and why don’t the courts enforce the obligations of the man?
No exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother.
Those arguing against a woman’s right to choose bring up the horrors of late term abortions.
Those are the disturbing images of something that looks almost like a child being aborted.
But those aren’t most of the cases. Most of the cases are early on.
Most cases are in the first twelve weeks and most cases cite an unreliable partner (the man) as the primary reason.
The Texas law and others like it have made it more difficult to make a choice early on. Their definition of “early” is often before a woman knows she’s pregnant. By the time a woman is certain, their law makes it illegal to do anything.
But what of these late term abortions?
Pete Buttigieg had a well-reported discussion with Chris Wallace about this on Fox where he explained that less than 1% of all abortions are these late term abortions. Wallace pushed back and said that this amounts to 6000 women who get abortions in the third trimester each year.
Buttigieg asked that we put ourselves in the shoes of these women. If they’re into their third term, he explains (setting aside that on Fox it was of course a discussion among men), the woman is planning on carrying the baby to term.
And then he said this.
“We’re talking about women who have perhaps chosen the name, women who have purchased the crib, families that then get the most devastating medical news of their lifetime, something about the health or the life of the mother that forces them to make an impossible, unthinkable choice.”
“That decision is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.”
And now the government is poised to dictate that there is no decision to be made.
One side calls itself pro-life and the other calls itself pro-choice.
Let me retell a story I’ve told before.
When Kim was pregnant with Elena the doctor recommended she get an Amniocentesis. The test mainly reveals possible issues that can be detected from the DNA.
There are risks with the procedure and Kim decided she’d rather not have it.
One of the things the test can reveal is whether or not your child might have Down syndrome.
Kim said if she knew our baby had Down’s it might help her prepare but she wouldn’t terminate the pregnancy.
Kim was strongly pro-choice. She believed in a woman’s right to choose. Her choice happened to be not to seek an abortion.
I’m strongly pro-choice. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. Kim’s choice was all that mattered to me.
This decision says that the woman doesn’t have a right to choose.
The most personal and difficult decision a woman might make is taken away from her - and given to whom? The government?
Aren’t these the people who told us the government has no business in our lives?
At Kavanaugh’s hearing, Kamala Harris asked him if he could think of one law that regulated a man’s body.
Before Roe was decided we lived in a very different world.
At that time a woman couldn’t get a credit card in her own name. She wasn’t guaranteed that she wouldn’t get fired for getting pregnant. She couldn’t refuse sex with her husband. (Source: USA Today)
As for abortion, women with means could be taken out of state or to private facilities to have procedures not available to those without means.
Current laws such as Texas that make it illegal to help someone get an abortion would have been very different to enforce back then.
Now we are tracked by our phones. Now there are many records of that Uber driver or relative that drops us off at a clinic.
In addition the burden of proving we weren’t involved in this questionable crime is on us. The burdens of time, money, and emotional stress - all on the defendant. This law has no penalty for false accusations.
Alito’s opinion argues against privacy guarantees for abortion.
At the very moment that the courts should be doubling down on protecting and expanding privacy guarantees they are doing just the opposite.
This summer the “hot” in “hot girl summer” (or my “hot dad summer”) is “hot” as in bothered.
I’d so much prefer “hot” as in having fun with my friends, being confident, and living my best life.
Essay from Dim Sum Thinking Newsletter 111. Read the rest of the Newsletter or subscribe