Anne Leigh Parrish Writer

I’m not a political person. That doesn’t mean I have no interest in politics, just that I don’t see the world purely in political terms. Some do. A writer whose name I can’t recall said that all writing, one way or another, is political writing. I never believed that, and still don’t.

I’m also not a feminist. I was a young child in the 1960’s, and I was around for all the agonizingly slow advances made by women. Yet I never believed that the world broke down along gender lines. Which is not to say I didn’t recognize sexual discrimination. My own mother, a professor of French Literature at Cornell University was told, in the early 1970’s, that she would never earn as high a salary there as her husband, my father, who taught in the English Department.

I guess I’ve lived a fairly privileged life in terms of experiencing discrimination. Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel the urge to rally an opinion around an issue. I’ve spent years raising children and writing. Not much chance to be discriminated against there, or is there? What about all the books published by men every year, compared to the smaller number published by women? What about lists of top twenty authors that will have seventeen men and three women? Okay, then, there is discrimination in my own chosen art, and it frustrates the hell out of me. The roaring success of self-publishing will probably do a lot to level that playing field. If you get the musty old boys network of the big publishing houses out of the way, we’ll all do better.

But outside my world of writing there is the larger, more difficult and dangerous world. Two things seem to be always in the news these days. Gun control, and abortion rights. Or rather, not wanting to limit the rights of gun owners, and restricting the rights of women seeking an abortion. This two issues don’t break entirely along gender lines, because women own guns, too. But women aren’t the mass murderers, are they? Aurora, Colorado, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary School – all sites of gun massacres committed by a man at the trigger.

So here’s what I’m thinking: We live in a country that says it’s okay for a nutcase man to buy an automatic rifle with the option of doing great harm, but it’s not okay for a women to decide when to have a baby. The future murderer’s rights are protected, but not the unhappily pregnant woman’s, even when you call her a murder for terminating her pregnancy.

I call that sexual discrimination. And I call it stupid, evil, retarded, and retrograde. Give me a little time, and I’m sure some more adjectives will come to mind.