Bodily autonomy: what it is and what it isn’t.

Apparently, bodily autonomy is a tricky concept to grasp. So I’ve gone to the liberty of providing a very brief and accessible account of what bodily autonomy really means.

What it is:

A political principle that says that people have the right to define and live their lives as they so choose. This principle allows us to do what we want with our bodies (providing that doesn’t restrict the rights of another person. Note: person. not foetus).

This includes:
Defining our own gender.

Defining our own sexuality.

Making our own economic choices.

Wearing what we feel happy and comfortable wearing.

Having as much or as little sex with as many or as few people as desired.

Entering and leaving spaces, real or virtual, whenever we desire.

What it isn’t:
A catchy slogan that looks good on abortion rights placard but loses all significance in any other discussion.

If you cry that a person has a ‘right to choose’ because of ‘bodily autonomy’ when talking about abortion rights, but then deny the queerness or transness of someone else, you do not believe in bodily autonomy. If you deny the economic realities of other people and the choices they make to get by, you do not believe in bodily autonomy. If you believe people should cover up or show a little more skin, you do not believe in bodily autonomy. If you deride someone as a slut or as frigid, you do not believe in bodily autonomy. If you demand interactions with people irrespective of their needs, you do not believe in bodily autonomy.

Over and out.

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