As State Senator Wendy Davis’s abortion bill filibuster came to an end Monday night, 23-year-old rapper, writer, and lifestyle guru Lil B (a.k.a "the BasedGod") tweeted a series of messages of support for Davis, "#women," and "hip hop and other girls." "This is your bodies, ladies!!!" he wrote. "I love you all!" Lil B is known for his social media savvy, but his rant was not mere trending topic bait. He expanded upon his tweets in an op-ed for Rolling Stone, published today, and at the risk of being hyperbolic, it might the best Man's Guide to a Woman's Right to Choose I've ever read.
As Jonathan Chait pointed out yesterday, the great frustration of the abortion debate is that both sides speak only to their own adherents. As a result, some men — for whom the debate is biologically abstract — give up, call it irresolvable, pay lip service to whichever side is "correct" in their circles, leaving the tough battles to those who have some skin in the game. Meanwhile, the self-described male feminists tend to rely on academic jargon where personal experience escapes them, not known to convert many to the cause. Lil B does neither, instead translating threadbare feminist talking points into arguments about power, empathy, and respect. Print it out for the teenage boy in your life. Our feminist translation below.
Lil B: "There are a lot of different situations where pregnancy comes about – as a man, it's hard for me to make a decision on that. It's up to a woman how she wants to bring a child into the world, or if she wants to continue with her life and mature more and bring a child in when she's ready. It needs to be an option."
Liberal Arts Feminist-Speak (LAFS): Reproductive freedom is the linchpin of women's self-determination.
Lil B: "There are people who say, 'Hey, you shouldn't have sex,' or that it's like killing a human. But my viewpoint is, I'm not the one having a kid, so why does my opinion matter?"
LAFS: Pro-life ideology is rooted in moral absolutes.
Lil B: "Girls of all ages support me, and I want to do what I can to help women feel good. Because that's going to help out guys, too, you know? And it's going to help the world in general."
LAFS: Reproductive justice is men's issue, too.
Lil B: "I respect where the Republicans come from – I'm trying to understand their perspective. But I really do feel like it's a woman's choice. When it's a bunch of men voting on women's rights, I don't know. How can a man really understand that?”
LAFS: We must be suspicious of "women’s rights" as defined under patriarchy.
Lil B: "We're going to have a woman president. We need more women in the workforce, way more women involved in running everything. That's our problem."
LAFS: Hillary 2016.