Sunday, June 05, 2011

A Little Serious for a Sunday, But Let's Talk About Drugs

Drugs, the illegal kind, have been all over the news lately, from reports that The War on Drugs (or the war on some people who use drugs) has failed to reducing the discrepancy in sentencing between types of cocaine possession.

I'm gonna assume that most of y'all reading this are feminist/womanist and progressive, so when I say I believe in absolute bodily autonomy you might assume what I'm talking about is just reproductive freedom and the freedom from rape and gendered violence. But my commitment to bodily autonomy is much more than that. I believe that every single adult has the right to unrestricted liberty over their own person, and that children have damn near as much unrestricted liberty as well*. This means if you are an adult, I don't give a shit what you put in your own body. I don't care what you eat. I don't care what you drink. I don't care who you fuck (as long as enthusiastic consent is involved) or how you fuck. I don't care if you drink wine, smoke cigarettes, or shoot heroin. It's none of my business.

I do care that we are all fully informed on what we are putting in our bodies, whether it's prescription drugs and their side effects or ecoli-tainted spinach. Poisoning people, even unintentionally, for profit, is a violation of someone's bodily autonomy. Not providing someone with the full facts about things from potential drug interactions to stds is tantamount to lying. And lying removes a person's right to autonomy by altering their options for choice.

The most basic of freedoms is the right to control our own body, it every possible manner. It is not an accident that the bodies most likely to be punished for using drugs are brown (though rates of drug use are actually pretty even among different races). It's both a tool of the kyriarchy and one of those Gramscian hegemony/common sense of the elites things. It keeps certain people (women, poc, woc, lgbtqq, etc) from full freedom while positing these restrictions as "protections".

So end the war on drugs. End the illegality of drugs and the war on certain bodies. It's the most important freedom, and unfortunately it's not in our bill of rights.Changing how we think about bodies is one of the most critical acts of social justice and it turns the protectionist/charitable bullshit on it's head. Let people do to themselves what they want to do. Full stop. No ifs, ands or buts.

*regarding children, yes they absolutely deserve status as full human beings and the right to control their own bodies. But as they are children and their little neurological pathways aren't yet formed all the way, it is our job as adults to guide them towards things like eating vegetables and taking baths or needed medicine. It is also our job to punish those who would violate their autonomy via rape or abuse, specifically because children are not as equipped as adults to recognize those violations.

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