Alyssa Milano proposed a sex strike to protest restrictive abortion laws but it kind of misses the point.
Alabama and Georgia have passed restrictive and possibly illegal abortion laws, and, no surprise, a lot of people are upset about it. Many Hollywood productions that shoot in Georgia are departing from the state in protest.
Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams announced they will continue to shoot Lovecraft Country in Georgia, but the money they earn from the show will go straight to two charities working to overturn the law.
But actress Alyssa Milano, who shoots Insatiable in Georgia, came up with probably the most attention-grabbing (and kind of problematic) way to protest the law. She called for a sex strike.
Georgia’s new law forbids abortion when a heartbeat is detected, roughly six weeks into a pregnancy. Legal abortions after a heartbeat is detected are allowed if the pregnancy jeopardizes the life of the mother, or if the fetus will not survive outside the womb. Abortion is also allowed in the case of rape or incest as long as the woman files a police report.
“Our reproductive rights are being erased. Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy. JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back. I’m calling for a #SexStrike. Pass it on,” Milano wrote on Twitter.
Our reproductive rights are being erased. Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk p… https://t.co/TsIN3KUQM7— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa Milano)1557542438.0
Milano’s sex strike received some support.
Saw lots of people criticizing this idea today. I fully support a sex strike. It’s not admitting that we are here t… https://t.co/TnYlHLnwRJ— 💗🖤BohoGirlResists🖤💗 (@💗🖤BohoGirlResists🖤💗)1557607335.0
Join us in helping cis men feel the physical consequences of our reproductive rights being systematically eliminate… https://t.co/DwxY6GqbEk— Kate *Abortion is healthcare* Kelly (@Kate *Abortion is healthcare* Kelly)1557542723.0
But others were quick to point out the flaws in Milano’s logic. The idea of a sex strike reduces sex to a bargaining tool. It reinforces the misogynistic ideas that women’s bodies are there to give sexual pleasure to men, women are not supposed to enjoy sex, and refusing to have sex with a man is a punishment.
I know this is well-meaning but the WHOLE. ENTIRE. POINT. of these horrifying laws is to punish women for daring to… https://t.co/j1QlR8pSGU— andi zeisler (@andi zeisler)1557587666.0
Rape has nothing to do with sex - it’s about hatred and power, the same causes of women being stripped of their rig… https://t.co/ifZxMFwuWk— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts)1557592377.0
I hate this https://t.co/jO6o0vvVAC— Jessica Valenti (@Jessica Valenti)1557585845.0
Hi the idea of a #sexstrike just perpetuates the idea that sex is something women give and men take, creating a pow… https://t.co/lrsi0D5DVs— Maria Del Russo (@Maria Del Russo)1557607004.0
@Alyssa_Milano Living under patriarchy has already robbed me of safety, autonomy, opportunities, and trust in our i… https://t.co/iO20VoIA4b— Kristi Coulter (@Kristi Coulter)1557595073.0
You want me to deny myself the one pleasure men offer because what now https://t.co/TsUhrSdTcv— Milah Thee Stallion (@Milah Thee Stallion)1557586105.0
Milano said that the idea of a sex strike was to get people’s attention and to raise awareness of the issue, which it did. “A #SexStrike is another way for people who have the potential to get pregnant to call attention to this systematic onslaught and assert the power to change our own destinies,” Milano said.
Sure, the whole Lysistrada thing might have worked in a time when men were writing books with titles like How to Train Your Wife, and nobody batted an eye. But we’ve progressed a lot since Ancient Greek times, and so must our ideas of what should be considered a protest.