Because the sperm cell that happened to fertilize the egg, which ultimately came to be me, carried a Y chromosome instead of an X chromosome, I am a male human. There was an additional Y carrying sperm cell and two X carrying sperm cells resulting from the meiotic division that gave rise to the sperm cell that yielded slightly less than half of my DNA. (Slightly less than half because my mitochondrial DNA came from the egg.) Thus, I was born male because chance had a certain sperm cell win and others not. (I guess it's possible gremlins in my mother's uterus blasted the other sperm with lasers, guaranteeing the success of a specific sperm, but I doubt it.) I begin this way to make the point that based on essentially a coin flip, I happen to be male. If a different sperm had won, I would be a woman and my life and ability to make my own reproductive choices would be fundamentally different. This is true even though I live in a country that likes to express how free it is.
Consider that this year (though it is really only slightly worse than other years), the freedom of a woman to choose to have an abortion is being limited in a significant way. This includes women, like a fourteen year old girl raped by her grandfather. This includes women who are gestating a defective fetus that has no chance of survival or is even dead. This includes women who have a high chance of dying during the delivery. This is the year, we have declared birth control to be the reprehensible tool of the whore. This is the year, when women who wish to discuss birth control are sluts and hypersexual subversives who just aren't real Americans.
Women who want to have an abortion must have a medical device jammed in their vaginas for no reason other than to punish them (the law got watered down to remove the rape but the initial version sought forced penetration of medical device). I assume they are being punished not for getting an abortion (they haven't yet), but because they were dirty little sluts who couldn't hold the aspirin between their legs. Where are the punishments for the men who couldn't find a woman who just wanted to make babies? How about a law that says a woman who wants an abortion must identify the father and then after the abortion, the father must forcibly be vasectomized? (It's potentially reversible so it's not sterilizing, and the man has already demonstrated he cannot be trusted to wait until a baby-ready woman is available.) As much as we hate the vagina, a woman can, at most, have one baby a year, but a man can make hundreds of women pregnant in the same time span.
The Catholic church has been crystal clear in its opinion. A woman cannot get an abortion, even if it means she will die without it. If you happen to be Catholic and save a woman's life by helping her have an abortion, you will be excommunicated. Women have one purpose in the Catholic church. Brood mares. As much strife as there has been between Protestants and Catholics in this country (the town I grew up in was divided up into the Protestant and Catholic side by the Presumpscot River), Protestants win no prizes here. The laws being written and in some cases passed around the country are written and voted on almost universally by members of Protestant churches. When women were trying to obtain the right to vote, which only became ratified in 1920 it was opposed by many men. (Think about it, this is less than 100 years ago. When one of your grandmothers or great grandmothers was born, she probably was born knowing she could not participate in the election of her leaders.)
This is just a short list: think of your own and add them to the comments. For example, we still hear the claim that women deserve to be raped or assaulted if they do not dress in specific ways. (At the same time we ridicule Muslims for requiring women to wear Burkas, which is ironic.)
It has seemed to me that since I was born, women have achieved greater and greater parity. Working women are respected, salaries and benefits are more akin to their male counterparts (not equal but the situation has improved). Sexual harassment is something we at least discuss and generally frown on as a society. However, I said 'seemed' because it has become clear that these achievements are illusion, or maybe a better word is fragile. I cannot help but wonder at the current fad of jumping on the rights of women and defining them as walking uteruses who should not have control of themselves.
Neuroscience and other theory-poor fields: Tools first, simulation later
4 minutes ago in The Curious Wavefunction