I heard Rick Santorum on the radio this a.m., spouting off about “family values.”
I gotta tell you, I am so sick of the insinuation that liberals don’t care about family.
This isn’t a dispute between those with family values and those without. This is a dispute about how we define a family: as a unit that subjugates women, or as one that supports women. It matters because the family is the building block of our society: the rights of women in the nation follow after the rights of women in the family.
If the patriarchal model espoused by social conservatives represents “family values,” then I want to advocate for “femily values.”
They look like this:
1 - A femily gives a woman autonomy over her body, trusting her moral and intellectual acuity enough to let her choose if she’ll get pregnant, when she’ll get pregnant and whether to stay pregnant. This way, women play a major role in shaping the femily.
2 – Femily values dictate affordable healthcare for everybody so that we can take care of ourselves, our aging parents, and our children (the members of the femily). The U.S. infant mortality rate currently ranks among the worst of all industrialized countries. Surely, if we come together as a femily, we can do better than that!
3 – A society rooted in femily values supports universal childcare so that mothers of young children can make choices about education, career and marriage.
4 - Femily values discourage abortion by supporting single mothers. Instead of trapping young single pregnant women in rushed marriages that diminish opportunities for work and education, support for universal childcare and affordable healthcare makes the single-mother femily a reasonable choice for young pregnant women.
5 –Hetero-, homo- and trans- partners comprise a femily—all with equal legal status and the right to marry, bear children and adopt. Femilies provide a much needed safety net to individuals in a society, so the more femilies the better!
6 – A femily supports mothers who work in and out of the home.
7 – Femilies support public education, aiming to build a stronger economy and a better democracy by adequately educating all children.
8 – Femilies reject patriarchs, but value men for their indispensable roles as partners, fathers, brothers, sons and lovers.
These are my femily values. They scare conservatives because “conservative,” by definition, is the fear of change. These values change the patriarchal family, a dated model of social organization that really only serves heterosexual men. Through support for reproductive rights, childcare, healthcare, sexual diversity, and education, “femily values” serve everybody.