Friday, 27 June 2014

My Big Fat Happy Life



Unknowingly we started “Positive Body Image Month”. Inanna shared her story of growing up with the negative view of her body and now it’s my turn.


I am a big girl. Not to say, that I am independent and I can handle myself, I mean I am BIG. Let’s say it: I am fat. (pause for the dramatic effect and to see your reactions…)

I can bet that most of you created the whole speech to me that I shouldn’t say that, that probably I am exaggerating and that it’s not that bad. Virtually, I cannot say that I am fat.

And you see, this is a problem number one. Fat people are not allowed to admit that they are fat. We are not allowed to say that we are fat and that we are happy with it. Especially women. Because all women should strive for this wasp/Barbie/unattainable body shape and they simply cannot just stop and enjoy their life, even if they are fat.

Some of you will give millions of examples of fat people who are nice, funny and happy. And here we have problem number two: fat people are not just people. Somehow we cannot be just funny and nice or angry and sad. We are always "fat and funny", "fat and nice", "fat and angry". As if our body defined our behaviour.

I’ve heard it all. I know how I look and I know that I have way to many kilograms altogether. But I don’t mind. By saying “I’m fat” I don’t expect pity. I don’t expect confirmation or refusal of my statement. I don’t expect to be comforted that “it’s not that bad”. I just want people to accept that I am fat, I know that I’m fat, I will say that I am fat and I will be happy with my body.

There. I said it.

It wasn’t easy, it took me ages to understand the whole problem with fat people. The problem is not that we are plum or round or curvy. Problem is that word “fat” became so pejorative, that we've become so scared to even think that we are what we are. And despite our efforts if we came to that conclusion and the world around us confirms our fears, we have to feel bad about it and we must want to change it!

Well, screw this. I won’t change. Not for the sake of adjusting to the modern perception of beauty.



I was always a plum child. I was always the fattest in the class. I was slow, I wasn’t good at sport (even though I was swimming, playing tennis, etc.) and I was never considered pretty. I grew to hate my body and hate myself for how I looked. I envied my friends so much that they are thin, because everybody around me made me feel like less successful person and a student. I was fat so I couldn’t be as promising as they are!

The truth is, I was one of the best students. I am freaking smart. I’ve always been. But I was frequently compared to other good students and I didn’t stand a chance against them, because I was fat and they were not.

And if you think about it, there is very little successful fat people shown in movies. There is this tendency for depicting fat people as lazy, annoying, obsessed with something (either food or money or power) or silly, harmless, "normal" quiet people. There is very little extraordinary and unique fat that saved the world or were just rulers. Fat people rarely are perceived as hero material.



When I was 15, I started dieting. I wasn’t that reckless as my other friends, I had quite considerate, well-balanced diet, I exercised every day. And I lost 15kg within 2 years (I know it was slow, but that’s how it was). I was within normal BMI, but my body wasn’t perfect. My legs where to short and crooked, my thighs were to wide, my belly had this roll of skin that I didn’t like. During this 2 years, each day I was standing in front of the mirror, sucking my belly in and I saying: “I wish I had belly like this”. Each day. And even though I got thinner with each month, I still wasn’t happy.

One day it hit me. I will never be happy with how I look. Because I am not perfect and I could never be perfect. It’s unattainable. My friends who were thin, they have it easy. I didn’t. Not with my body type. I will always be far from perfection.

Probably if I hadn’t have this epiphany, I would became anorexic. There was a moment when I didn’t want to eat, because I was afraid that I will gain weight and I will lose it all.

I quit dieting and I was amazingly happy. Full and happy. Without the need for worrying what to eat and when. Happy happy happy! 

I gained some weight, but I still was normal. However, at the time I got diabetes. I gained few to many kilograms due to poor management at the onset of my illness. Currently I am eating healthy, I cut my carbohydrates intake, if I want sweets I go for dark chocolate or dry fruits. I bake cakes with coconut flour and stevia. I eat lean meat. I use coconut or olive oil for cooking. My meals are composed in 2/5 of vegetables, 2/5 of meat and 1/5 of carbs. I have a medium activity, I walk a lot and I do pole dancing and Irish dancing once a week. But I'm still fat.

Here is the problem number three. Fat people, in the minds of others, cannot be fat and maintain healthy lifestyle. It just doesn't add up. If you eat healthy food and exercise, why are you fat? 

Well, life is a bitch, I can tell you that. For me, it takes me a month to lose 3-4kg, but one day of "sinning" is enough for me to have terrible sugar levels and subsequently gain 1kg. 

I cannot overstate the fact that I don't mind being fat. What bothers me is the assumptions, attitudes, perceptions, uneasiness and stereotypes.

The discrimination against fat people is a real thing and it is damaging. You have no idea how big of a deal is my body to other people. As if my body is on a public display to comment or ignore. I heard zillion “caring” comments about my body. And since I am fat and I am not worrying about it, it gave people the impression that they can say to me whatever they want.

On each family gathering, there is at least one aunty who comments that I am fat. But I look happy, so it’s not that bad.

That if I lose weight, boys will like me. Don’t I want to have a boyfriend and be happy? (Obviously I cannot be happy without a boyfriend).

Or when people found out that I was single, I always heard: Ohh... Nobody wants you? (Obviously I cannot just be single and be happy when I'm fat).

There is so many things wrong with this picture...
What kind of moron created this?

For crying out loud, I get my undergrad in UK, I have my Masters from Ireland, I travelled the world, I did volunteering, I participated in countless courses and workshops. I have so many amazing stories to tell and experiences to share, I have wonderful friends all over the world, but still the biggest news is whether I lost or gained weight.

I am not saying that if you are fat, you should just accept that and not do anything with this. There is always an issue of health. There are some diseases that are more evident in obese people and are more dangerous to you, when you are fat. However, health should be the only reason for wanting to change one’s body. One and only reason.

But I will never ever do it again to be thin. I don’t care about being thin. I don’t mind being fat. I love my body and few more kilograms doesn’t bother me.

Because being fat is nothing bad. I can say it now with full confidence: I am fat and I am happy!




Written by Vespertilio

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

My Body Image Tortures

The first time I remember telling myself my stomach was too fat I was around 10 years old. Unfortunately for me, my brain got sort of stuck there and didn’t move on ever since then. Back in my teenage years I had no idea how common this problem was, I thought it’s just me wanting my stomach to be little bit more flat and the rest of the girls – they all look perfect, so they most probably feel perfect too.

The years of constantly worrying about how my body looks really drained me. And you know what? I realized that as long as I tie my happiness to my waist line, I will never feel good enough. Because there will always be one centimeter more that I could lose, right?

Today we talk a lot about loving our body the way it is, but aren’t we all falling into a trap of looking into the mirror to tell our body “I love you” and ending up planning new exercise routine? Or is it just me?! “Accepting my body? Just like that? No excuses? But here is a little bit I could improve and I should really start exercising again, and fuck sake, have to stop eating sweets!!!” – That’s my typical thought process.

I started paying attention to my body quite early and I still have a long way to go to just relax and enjoy my life without worrisome looks into the mirror. When I was in 4th or 5th grade I had a “diet diary”, when I found it recently I was shocked and thanked myself, that I was never really able to stick to this “food plans” I have been making for myself. Here’s one example of how I used to imagine my perfect food day:

Breakfast: 1 plain toast
Snack: apple
Lunch: whatever they make me eat, no second helpings (my family eats lunch together)
Snack: water
Dinner: tomato cucumber salad



Isn’t it terrifying? It sounds completely sadistic. No teenager should restrict their food this way. If I had continued such “diet” I would most probably end up anorexic. What’s more important, as a young girl I shouldn’t have been worrying about my stomach size!!! I shouldn’t have been thinking about diets and exercising. Kids should be discovering the world, studying, playing with friends, reading mind opening books (or even stupid books! Vespertilio), enjoying their life – not thinking how they look like or what people think about their body.

It makes me sad to think how much time I have wasted thinking about my body, worrying needlessly. Did I mention, I was never really fat? Maybe when I started puberty I got a bit chubby, but I never really crossed my proper body weight!!!

I wish when I was growing up someone would show me, that how I look is the least important thing now. I wish someone would have told me “BEING THIN DOESN’T GIVE YOU POWER”. Self confidence that comes from weight loss is temporary. After initial thrill you’re back to square one.  I wish when I was growing up first and most common compliment wasn’t “oh, you are so pretty, you look so slim”.

Instead, I grew up looking up to my mother who was constantly trying to lose weight after birth of my younger brother. It’s not a story of how angry I am with my mom, not at all. It’s a story of connecting and sympathizing with other women, including my mother. Back in 1996 standards of beauty were not any less harsh and demanding for ladies, even after having a baby. Of course, it’s not only my mother and other women that I knew who had influenced me. Most of all, it was this perfect unrealistic women staring at me from TV and magazines, alternating how I see myself. I haven’t fully realized it until I watched “Killing ussoftly” documentary.



I’m now 23 and I still live with my own double standards. Even today, I like the feeling of no fat around my waist line, but I slowly grow to appreciate my feminine curves and I acknowledge that I’ll have more of them as I age, its nature. Today I look at my legs and I like them the way they are, no thigh gap, I like them to look strong! It’s an improvement! Hope my brain will evolve and allow me to end this body image tortures I’ve been going through for past 13 years.

Talking about it helps, although it’s scary to write about it - I hate admitting my weaknesses! Perhaps if more of us would talk honestly and openly about our body image problems we would realize that in today’s world it’s a universal human experience to doubt if we are beautiful.  I’m still on my way to liberation and official not-giving-a-fuck about size of my body, but I’m getting there!!! 

Every story shared by other women online helps, so maybe… write about your experience too? ;) 

Written by Inanna

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Let's Keep Fighting! My Body - My Rights!

Maybe we live in 21st century, but Poland refuses to progress from Middle Ages. And many Polish people are proud of it.


Another day of Polish women struggle for their reproductive rights. Inanna and I are actively monitoring and reading new words that has been produced either for or against abortion in Poland.

After reading it all, it was really comforting to see that some doctors still abide the law and do the procedure when a women has a legal ground to ask for it.

It warms my heart to see all of those women sharing their stories, their strength and hopes for a better future. It’s amazing how many of them get support from their partners, who decided that the well-being of their woman is the most important thing in the world.

At the same time, it’s extremely depressing to see how many people spread hate and are first ones to insult other people. And it’s even more daunting how many people put the blame on women. For fighting for their rights. For wanting a better life. For wanting to be heard. For having needs. For having desires. For having dreams.

I really don’t get it how somebody, who claims to believe in a God, the merciful and almighty God, can have so much resentment toward another human being. How can somebody judge another person without knowing the whole story? Judging only based on partial information about sex life and choices. Didn’t Jesus said that “he who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (when defending an adulterous woman)? How can somebody, who claims to be a man/woman of faith can have so much hatred in their hearts?

Over the past few days I’ve read tens of articles about the situation in Poland, opinion essays, comments. I encountered billions of comments insulting women’s conscience and almost calling them monsters, if they even considered having an abortion.

Where did all of those people get the idea that somebody’s body and life is a public matter? Since when woman’s body is a public property? Since when anybody’s body is a public property?


I am a religious person, I believe in God, but right now I wouldn’t step into the church in Poland. I’ve heard to many sermons with too much judgement in it, too much hatred, too much negative messages. I’ve listened to priests who though that as they are so self-righteously pious they word is above the word of God. God can be your salvation, but a church will bring you down on your knees and be your judge. I couldn’t stand it. I believe that a God is love, he gives us strength and teaches us to show sympathy to other people and try to understand them, regardless of how different our situation is from theirs. And if we can’t, then we should stop criticizing. It’s not our place.

That case of an 11-year old girl still haunts me. How can people be so cruel and judgmental? She is a child, for crying out loud! She should be protected at all costs, her welfare should be a priority to all of us: her parents, family, neighbours, doctors, government! But we’ve heard so much bullshit from priests and politicians. About an abortion being another rape, about a girl’s maternal instincts waiting to be awaken.


"11-year-old girl should be under the care of psychologist and other doctors
and she should give birth to this child. This child we'll be on high demand
for adoption or maybe there will be a case, when the maternal instincts
will awaken in girl" Czesław Hoc

Yeah, sure, force her to be a mother. When the kid gets older, they can play together in hide and seek, help with homework and steal toys from each other. Instead of spending her allowance on sweets, she will be worrying about diapers and baby milk. Yeeeey! Who wouldn’t want that? Kids at that age should be learning about responsibility by having a puppy or kitten. Not a baby. And whoever claims that it’s the way it should be, tell it to your kid. Have them have a child right now. Is he 13? He will be a brilliant father! Is she 12? Who cares about her dreams and aspirations! Let her have babies!

Many people say that she should have the baby, but no one ask whether it’s good for her. She went through so much and all we can do is still disallow her desire to have a normal life. Or anybody else’s desires. Politicians say what she should or shouldn’t do, but can anybody guarantee their help throughout her life? She will go through some tough times, are you, Mr. Politician ready to pay for her therapy? For a babysitter when she will want to go back to school? For all the expenses that she will need for her education and for the child’s welfare?

We are spinning like crazy towards the pit, we can’t find a way out from our own hypocrisy and ignorance.

Few years ago there was a high profile case in Yemen, where 12-year-old girl died  after she had given birth to her child. She wasn’t raped, she was a child bride, whose husband couldn’t wait with sex until she gets older. There was an uproar all over the world, there were countless quotations of doctors who said that girls at this age should not have children. That it’s dangerous to their health and life. Their bodies are not ready for pregnancy.

I can’t even count the amount of comments condemning the situation in Yemen. How could parents be so heartless and marry off their child? How can a grown up man have sex with a child? It’s paedophilia, abomination, backward culture. But all of this happened in a faraway country, in another reality and we were so quick to decry them. There were so many voices saying how we are different from THEM. How we are more civilised. How we are better. How our religion is better.

I think this whole circus shows us that Polish society is no different than an orthodox Muslim societies that we are so eager to criticize.

"If you knew anything about women, you would know,
that you always slightly rape a woman" Janusz Korwin-Mikke
Maybe I am looking at this all wrong. Maybe we should follow different examples. Maybe we should marry off young girls as soon as they can menstruate, because if she is bleeding, then she can have babies and there is no time to waste. And we should cover all women! We have to prevent these few-years-old seductresses from leading astray those God fearing, virtuous boys! And we should marry off raped girls to their perpetrators! The problem of “unwanted” babies will be solved, child won’t be fatherless, and basically the rape will cease to exist, because everybody knows that you can’t rape your wife. Wouldn’t life be sooooo much easier?


Okay, sorry for that. Jokes aside.

We want women (and girls) to take responsibility for their sexual acts, but we don’t educate them. We won’t provide them with an opportunity to choose, have easy choice and their fully conscious choice. Doctors and politicians make an access to contraception so difficult at a times and so expensive that it’s impossible to make an informed decision about your own reproductive health. And after stripping women from the power to determine their own fate, everyone is so eager to judge their lack of responsibility for their actions.

What is worse we don’t educate boys to acknowledge that they also have to take responsibility for their actions. Heck, the society is ready to take the blame of their hands at any time, when things get tough for them. Because it’s woman’s responsibility to not have sex with a man. Because if she had control over her own desire, there wouldn’t be any problem.

Are you all freaking serious?



"We have such a low birth rate caused by feminist culture,so each child, even from rape,
is worth a fortune! If we have 200 rapes a day, it doesn't mean that as many
women conceived. They have been raped, usually because of their stupidity,
and sometimes they were asking for it" Krzystof Oksiuta

Our government wants people to have more children, but they are not ready provide a dignifying life conditions for those who want to have children. Those who could provide Poland with “more hands to work”. Wouldn’t it be easier to provide better care for mothers and their children? Wouldn’t it be better to take better care of single mothers? Wouldn’t it be better if all children were wanted? There are some people in this world who would love to have loads of children, but simply can’t afford it. So maybe instead of forcing women who don’t want to have children to breed and breed and breed, maybe it would be wiser to provide better incentives? Like, better “back to work” initiatives, more available upskilling courses, paternity leaves.

When will government and clergy realise that Poland is not a good place to live for many of its citizens and it’s time to do something about it? We have so many countries around us who have successes in areas that we are failing miserably, but in our arogance we are refusing to follow their example. When will they understand that social development is as important as economic development? That without improving social sphere, we will not be able to improve any other sphere?

The struggle in Poland is not over and is far from over. We’ve raised our voices, but we can’t be silenced! Not now.




Stay strong, sisters! Keep fighting!

Spread the word! If you haven’t done it yet, SIGN THE PETITION!


Written by Vespertilio

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Let's have sex! A lot! ...or not...?



I love sex.

I simply love it. I could have sex anytime, anywhere, always. It is perfect for stress relieve, I sleep better at night and I’m waking up more relaxed after good sex during the night. Sex is amazing.

And what is even more amazing is my boyfriend. Me and my boyfriend started our relationship with sex. We started living together very quickly and in the process we discovered that we are perfect for each other. We are like one soul in two bodies. We understand each other’s needs and desires perfectly. I couldn’t imagine a better partner to build a future with. And have sex.

But it hasn’t always been like that. We had our problems, our issues, our fights. One of which concerned… sex.

Most of you probably know by now that sex is more than physical connection. It’s spiritual, mental and emotional bond between two people. In order to enjoy sex, you need to value your partner and you have to absolutely trust him/her.

Also, in order for sex to be amazingly satisfying, you have to be in a mood for sex.

In the beginning of our relationship, sex wasn’t a problem. It was a base and a glue. Whenever we had time – we had sex. But after some time, the situation changed and then the problem appeared. We no longer had amazing sex, never, nowhere. My Mr. Perfect stopped looking at me with desire. He stopped touching me and grabbing me. I thought he stopped wanting me. Our sex live become routine, with little affection and consideration for another person pleasure. He stopped wanting to please me. He stopped anything. I didn’t understand why.

During that time I put up on weight, so I thought that was the issue. I was depressed, I had a problems with self-esteem. I became argumentative and aggressive towards him. I started demanding better sex and when I didn’t get it, I got angry. He withdrawn from our conversations.

One day I decided to confront him. I told him what was hurting me and that I can’t take it anymore. I wanted to break up. But I’m giving him a chance to say something. To talk to me.

And he talked. He told me that he is worrying about his job, that he is not happy with what he is doing. That he doesn’t know what to do with his life. That he cannot give me what he wants me to have. That his performance in bed is terrible and he can’t help the feeling that it won’t get better. That something might be wrong with him. Finally he said that most of the time he doesn’t feel like having sex.

I was shocked. Not with what he confessed to me, but that he hasn’t talked to me earlier.

Why didn’t he tell me that he didn’t want to have sex?

He didn’t need to answer that, it was obvious. As a man he is obliged to want sex and not wanting to have sex is a sign of weakness. On the other hand, I am a woman. I shouldn’t be so aware of my sexuality and my needs. And most importantly it’s not normal that a woman wants sex more than a man.

So he didn’t say anything. He suffered in silence, wanting to conform to the norms of masculinity by not showing signs of vulnerability and stress and at the same time longing for a support and understanding. His stress affected his sexual performance what made him feel even more emasculated and weak. And I wasn’t helping, because of my own sexist perceptions.

I couldn’t understand why my man doesn’t want what I have to offer. And instead of trying to get to the bottom of this, I was drowning in self-pity and my own misconceptions: he doesn’t want to have sex, because of me. I am more of a man in this relationship, because I want sex more than he does. And we both undermined my self-esteem: he - by wanting desperately to be a “man”, so he refused to acknowledge his feelings and talk to me about this; and I – by being afraid of negative labelling and not allowing myself to be have sexual needs.

But the truth is, we both failed to understand that men are allowed to not to have sex and women can be more sexually active than men.



Yup, you hear me: MEN ARE ALLOWED TO NOT TO WANT SEX.

Duuuuh. Of course they can! Well, can they? Probably all of us have heard about some guy who was offered a sex by some nice girl and refused. Or maybe you even know somebody who admitted that he was raped by a women. What did you think? Probably something along the lines: “how could he refuse easy sex?” or “he should be happy that a girl wanted to have sex with him” or even “how can a woman rape a man?”. So once again, do we allow men to say no?

My boyfriend could just say no. He could tell me that he is not in a mood. Because he is allowed to do so. And I shouldn’t feel guilty that I love sex so much. It doesn’t make me promiscuous or slutty, because I’ve never cheated on my boyfriend. I just love sex.

The labelling of women and sexual pressure on men are major problems in a modern society. Although some norms and perceptions are changing, the underlying stereotypes about men and women sexual needs don’t. We are slowly accepting that women can have many sexual partners and can enjoy an adventurous sex life, but we still want to see and expect to see an inequality in sexual activity: men should ALWAYS want sex MORE than a women. Well, men should ALWAYS want sex. Period.




Women are sexualized and objectified in the modern media, but most of us want to have a liberty to show their body with less and less clothes on. Society is accepting that the women have a variety of clothing styles to choose from which shows more skin. And we women, usually by dressing in provocative dresses, want to say to the world: I am free to do what I want. And it also applies to freedom in sex life. But at the same time, we are always highlighting our right to say “no” and to withdraw our consent at any time.

On the other hand, media strengthens the stereotypical masculinity. In popular music we see muscular men who are successful with women, are always in search of new score, trying to get a girl, getting a girl and searching for another one (sometimes all in the same time). In the modern music and movies there is so much pressure to have sex and be promiscuous, that it’s almost sickening. And what is frequently lacking from the picture are men who are NOT having sex. Who do NOT chase the pretty girl. Who do NOT think only about sex. Just as we, as a society, were not ready to accept men’s freedom is sex life and their right to say “no”.



I love my boyfriend, so I would never do anything against his will. I would never force him to have sex. Our problem came from misunderstanding of our needs and subconscious need to conform to our assigned gender norms. But once we realized what the real problem is, we stopped having a problem. By allowing ourselves to have freedom of choice, we drew closer to each other.

But not every man experience this level of understanding. Various research indicate that men are oftentimes victims of sexual violence by women. I will not even mention child sexual abuse by women. I mean forced penetration on men by women. And this phenomenon isn’t rare.

The US Centre for Disease Control conducted the Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010) and their results are appalling. It suggested that the rates of men being forced to penetrate women over the past year was identical to the rates of women reporting being raped, each 1.1%. Lifetime prevalence of the crimes were 4.8% for men and 17.8% for women. Meanwhile men reporting sex through coercion was 1.5% over the past year (6% lifetime) compared to 2% (13% lifetime) for women.

This isn’t normal, nor it’s acceptable. We all want to enjoy sex on our own terms, with the person we want to have sex. The societal expectations and norms put too much pressure on both women and men. Women should not feel guilty because of their desires and sexual drives. We should be able to enjoy sex the way is satisfying to us, as frequent as we want, and change partners as often as we want.

At the same time, we need to learn, and men need to realize that it is okay for them to refuse sex. Men have full right to not be in a mood, not liking the girl, not wanting to have sex with this particular woman. Not wanting to have sex at all.


If we want equality, we need to accept an equal right to enjoy sex and to not want sex.




Written by Vespertilio

Pictures:
http://static.abposters.com/image/750/stickers/i-love-sex-i7782.jpg
https://s1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/gndrh2oCMwOVzEslOak9TA--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTMxMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en-US/blogs/partner/mr_eaa4bae632d77b.jpg
http://www.demotivation.us/media/demotivators/demotivation.us_Men-only-want-sex-You-can-hear-women-say-it-more-times-than-men-actually-think-about-sex-_13267339685.jpg
http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/ff/ff0d66a35c8ff746d4286df8bf8b1a26113bdf082bfad942c50e42636f6ccd83.jpg
http://themoosemethod.com/wp-content/uploads/JustSayNo1.jpg
http://www.nottodaythemovie.com/_images/logo_nottoday.png
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TJkZQbdlLHI/AAAAAAAAEFc/5VHBrFDNdg8/s1600/confused.jpg


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Poland – the New Promised Land

In the previous posts we have been writing about situation of women in such countries as Iran, India and Saudi Arabia. Now it is time to look at one of EU countries, Poland. One would think that in European country things would be pretty progressive, but you couldn’t be more wrong.

70-90% citizens of this country declare themselves to be Roman Catholics (depends on source), which puts Poland in the league of most religious countries in Europe. Until today, Catholic Church has a big influence on politics in Poland. Government spends around 0,6 billion USD annually on religious education (schools, teachers). The major party, PiS, is known for their sympathy to the church and they have no shame whatsoever to bring their agenda to church and vice versa.

This Easter all faithful followers had to listen to pastoral letter from bishops where they declared war on “gender ideology” (even though they have clearly no idea what gender equality is), which they believe has destructive influence on catholic families. Since then, it only became worse. In May this year, Church actively encouraged doctors to sign so called “Declaration of Faith”. Seems harmless, doctors have the right to be religious; nobody pressurizes them to become atheists. Unfortunately, declaration of faith comes in direct conflict with the law and individual human rights, not to mention Hippocratic Oath.

It is not surprising that the biggest problems faced by doctor’s conscience are women’s reproductive rights. I really wonder why all of those bishops that swore to celibacy think about vaginas so much. 

To better explain the issue here are some pieces of Declaration of Faith signed by thousands of Polish doctors and medical students:

I recognize that the human body and life, being a gift from God, is sacred and inviolable
  • Body is subjected to the laws of nature, but nature was created by the Creator,
  • The conception of man and the descent from this world depends entirely on the decision of God. If such decision is made by man, it not only violates the basic commandments of Decalogue, by committing acts such as abortion, contraception, artificial insemination, Euthanasia or in vitro fertilization, but also rejects the Creator Himself

I recognize:
  • The primacy of God's law over the law of human;
  • The current need for opposing ideologies imposed by inhumane modern civilization,
  • The need for continuous deepening not only professional knowledge, but also knowledge of Christian anthropology and theology of the body.


I highlighted the points that I don’t quite understand. If any doctor subscribes to notion “The conception of man and the descent from this world depend entirely on the decision of God” is it still logical for him/her to practice medicine?

Isn't it strange that none of this doctors protests against treatment of heart patients or brain surgery? If death is all up to God, what are you doing in hospital, dear doctor? Why is it that the main focus of catholic doctors is on uterus? Above all, shouldn't they denounce entire medicine as evil intervention in God’s law, pack their bags and move right back to Middle Ages? 

What should we say when a country that wrote first constitution in history of Europe is now one step away from witch hunt?

In this document doctors bluntly declare that they, as Catholics, are above the law. And at the moment, it looks like they are. The results of this declaration are immediate and painful for women. Legal abortion in Poland was never easily available (that’s why all abortion clinics in Holland offer information in Polish as well). It is a common practice among doctors to keep their patient waiting for weeks for other unnecessary tests in order to cross the deadline for legal abortion. Another way of refusing women abortion is sending them from doctor to doctor, because under the law doctors have a right to refuse abortion, but they also have obligation to direct their patient to doctor who will do the procedure.

After declaration of faith accessibility to legal abortion has dramatically declined. Some doctors are now proud to break the law and are publicly applauded by pro-life activists for torturing women. Just in recent days director of one of the most popular hospitals in the capital, Warsaw, has refused abortion to women whose child is terminally ill and won’t live long after the birth. In this case law grants her legal abortion, but no one would perform it. For next few months this women will live with consciousness that child inside of her is going to die in agony and pain.  

Examples are countless. 11 year old girl was raped by her cousins, won court case, was granted abortion, but again, conscience of bishops and doctors proves to be more important. She is forced to have this baby and politicians publicly say, that we should wait, her maternal instincts will awaken soon. Do I have to comment on this? It is a pure cruelty, torture of women and girls. We point fingers at Yemen where girls are being married off as soon as they begin menstruating, but horrible cases happen here, in Europe as well. It is perhaps even more horrifying, because theoretically there are laws to protect children from abuse and women from physical or mental torture, yet some people have the audacity to say Gods law is above any human laws!

Hospitals and doctors who don’t want to break the law and still provide all medical services that women in Poland legally deserve are under attack. Pro – life activists organize protests and publicly abuse individuals who simply do their duty. People who save life of countless women (and babies too, they are not there only to do abortions, you know) are called “murderers” in front of their hospitals. On top of it, bunch of self declared male virgins, who will never have family (i.e. priests), believe to be saving sinful women from hell fire.

This ridiculous situation only proves that many people still believe, that individuals who want abortion are slutty young women, who are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions and what’s even worse – they are incapable of mothers love, ultimate goal of every decent women. According to the Catholic Church women should sacrifice their lives for children with smile on their faces and live happily ever after in poverty, with 11 mouths to feed (remember, contraception is evil). I’m afraid as long as we let men (especially priests) lead the discussion on abortion, this is the result we are going to get.

Polish feminist pages are being flooded with painful testimonies of women who were forced to carry sick baby, just because some doctor’s conscience is more important than well being of women. Legal abortion is not forced on any women – it only provides them with choice. Some will choose to give birth, hold their babies in their arms and then watch them die. Some women were raped, but decided to keep baby or give it up for adoption. However, many women decide differently and they have the right to do it. Abortion is NEVER an easy decision, but factors forcing women to do it are vaster than just rape, illness of fetus or danger to mother’s life. Discussion in Poland is now taking radical step back and instead of considering more liberal abortion laws, team of politicians and church officials want to strip away the little rights that Polish women have at the moment.

Pro-life people don’t see the beauty of modern medicine and possibilities it gives doctors to save life. Early detection of fetus deformation might save its life or give parents information about the inevitable death of their child. If we don’t want to give those parents choice, let’s ban any medical examinations altogether in the name of God. Then, let’s give the taxpayers money to the Church, since they will be pleading with God for their health. After all, it is all in the hands of God.

If you would like to take action please sign the petition to Polish Health Minister on Change.org. Support Polish women in their struggle to obtain access to medical services regarding their reproductive rights here @Change.

Written by Inanna