‘No Uterus, No Opinion’ -AND Why It Is All Shades Of Wrong

Image of two black women standing with backs against each other

Hello ladies!

Grab a chair and come closer. Today’s tea is about you, and I’m spilling. SPILL-ING on behalf of other women who are tired of you already and the men who also think “Yeah, my woman can do better. You know I usually say I prioritize women’s voices when it comes to issues regarding them, however, men have a say in today’s conversation.

“I have taken a good, long look at the affliction of my people…and have heard their cries…and I am come down to…pry them loose…” Recognize that line? Well, YES! I heard the men loud and clear.

Let’s begin here. So the other day on Twitter, a gender war broke out for the 1000th time this year alone. I know never to be caught between those skirmishes so I simply shut the app. Now if you’re wondering why I don’t involve myself in gender wars, well, here is it—– most times, people (male/female) tend to project and in fact overreach, and because I don’t like the unscrupulous method of tweeps projecting their insecurities on me, I don’t join in the dragging. But one thing got my attention from the rigmarole…someone had responded: “No uterus, no opinion” under a comment.

Now I have seen that phrase used many times but I’m not sure many people know where it originated from.

And I’m going to tell you. So the phrase “No uterus, No opinion” was a quote from Rachel Green, one of the main characters of the hit sitcom and my all-time favourite insomnia-curing Television series “Friends“.

In the scene where Rachael makes that statement, she is with Joey and Ross at the hospital and they were discussing something about childbirth. And as soon as guys offered their opinion that epidurals seem to prevent women from feeling contractions, Rachael shoots them down with a sassy wave of the finger. Love it! Although Rachael’s antics in that scene may just be for laughs, in the timeless battle of the sexes, women have continued to moot the phrase “No Uterus, No Opinion” to assert that men aren’t allowed to have an opinion on a range of feminine topics simply because they are not female. Its most popular use is in pro-choice or pro-life arguments, however, many women spin out this phrase whenever they want to tell men to shut up about any matter.

And I had mostly always agreed you know, because “true, what do you know about a woman’s body and why should you have a say about her choices? 

But here is what I also think. Certain slogans might mean well, but soon enough they are propagated and/or perverted in use by emotionally absent and over-inflated egotists, and that’s when they push it! So let me ask you, would the “No uterus, no opinion” slogan apply to women who’d had hysterectomies? Would it apply to women who because of cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or personal choices had their uterus removed?

It’s a slippery slope and that phrase has no place in 2022!

Just imagine if we applied the crazy metric to all of our other debates, and people had to be politicians to opine on governance or have children to weigh in on child-welfare issues.

I’m not disputing that pregnancy is a woman’s issue and will be until mankind can find a way to transplant an embryo into a man for the duration of a human pregnancy. However, I totally think that men can have a say about women’s issues, and to be honest, I think it’s a reductive, gendered framing to tell men to shut up because they aren’t women. That attitude alone has spooked some men out of the conversation about feminism and equality. It does make it seem like we’re the only ones (women) allowed to talk about it and that has not done much good for anyone.

In her interview with Trevor Noah in 2018, Chimamanda Adichie, the Nigerian author made note of what it would mean for feminism if powerful men like Barack Obama came out to talk openly about feminism and advocate a more equal world. I’m paraphrasing. But don’t we all think it will make it all easier? “You can change women all you want, but if you don’t change the men, nothing changes.” After all, the society is “you and me”— male and female created He them!

And while we need to hear women speak up about their issues and have the right to control their own bodies, we also need men to be a part of the conversation. I mean, a lot of times, expunging patriarchal bills and passing new ones often require men’s active participation anyway—so c’mon what does it matter to have informed and progressive-thinking men take their place in the feminist conversation? 

See, anyone can have an opinion about women’s issues, but ultimately, I believe it rests here—-if it’s not your body, then it’s not your choice—- men and women alike. And until you can walk in a woman’s body, you can’t have a say about what her body should look like. And even if you do walk in her body, you only have as much control over your own body. No over-reaching! Respect personal choices. Salvation is by choice…  and everything that surrounds it.

So let the men choose to stand for feminism too. let them speak up progressively about women’s rights issues. We need alliances, not foes, we desire believers, not rivals!

No Uterus, No Opinion? Oh quit it, Sistah!