One day, after dropping off my first grader at school, I followed a particularly large vehicle out of the parking lot. The olive green, Titan pickup truck displayed three neatly-placed bumper stickers prominently in my field of view. They were: an NRA member sticker, “The American Dream isn’t a Handout”, and this one:
From this, I interpreted this was a person who is passionate about the second amendment, who clearly feels strongly about it enough to want to display it on their vehicle, and who likely has an empowered sense of ownership about their guns and their right to use them in accordance with the law. I gathered it also represented something of their point of view about freedom, liberty, self-determination, independence, and security. I took all of that in, then paused for a moment and wondered: If this imagery and message speaks to him/her, maybe other images could convey a similar idea.
And I imagined these:
I reasoned if the image and message of the gun evoked a deeper understanding of rights and liberty, freedom, ownership, and self-determination for some, perhaps these images could effectively communicate the same feelings women have about contraception, their health, their bodies and their rights as well. And, perhaps, other people would stop and notice, as I did, and draw a connection between their own passionate beliefs and support for their raison d’etre and someone else’s passion for their own. Images sometimes have the power to do that.
I hope they will be effective.
The phrase, “Come and Take It” originates with the Ancient Greek phrase Molon Labe from the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BCE) when King Leonidas I of Sparta refused to lay down his weapons in response to a surrender demand from Xerxes I of Persia. On this continent, it was used by the leader of the American troops in a confrontation during the American Revolution with British forces in 1778 at Fort Morris in Georgia. And was revived again in 1835 during the Texas Revolution when Mexican forces demanded the return of a canon and the Texans (then called “Texicans”) responded by issuing instead a challenge: Come and take it. Immortalized on a flag bearing the image of a cannon with a five pointed black star above and the defiant phrase below, it has come to symbolize the resolve of those protecting their territory, their freedom, and, indeed, their very lives.
The birth control pill became legal in 1960. Prior to this there was no reliable, easy to use, woman-controlled form of contraception. It’s why so many of our mothers and grandmothers had nine and twelve and fourteen kids.
As Loretta Lynn’s song, The Pill, so aptly captures in verse:
“This incubator is overused because you’ve kept it filled
The feeling good comes easy now since I’ve got the pill
There’s gonna be some changes made right here on Nursery Hill
You’ve set this chicken your last time ’cause now I’ve got the pill”*
(To listen to this song click here.)
The frustration of the revival of an issue we thought was settled by our mother’s generation is captured well in one woman’s protest sign: “I can’t believe we still have to protest this crap.”
Let’s not take a step backward on the issue of women’s reproductive rights and contraception. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has produced an informative educational video that outlines the economic and personal impact of affordable and accessible birth control for women around the world. It explains that for every one dollar invested in family planning six dollars are saved in costs for housing, healthcare and public services. I hope you will take the time to watch it here.
Let’s insure we keep contraception and women’s healthcare legal and accessible.
Don’t try to take it from us.
Copyright © 2012. Christy Caine. All rights reserved.
And also to friend Mike Patrick of Patrick Solutions for helping me tweak it a little more.
* The Pill, written by Lorene Allen, Don McHan, and T. D. Bayless, recorded in 1972 by Loreta Lynn on MCA records and produced by Owen Bradley was released in 1975. Lynn said in a magazine interview she had received messages of gratitude from rural doctors telling her how her song had done more positive marketing for contraception to their patient population than any of their own education efforts. This is the power of media.