In light of all the recent Planned Parenthood controversy, it seems fitting to highlight another top rebel bastard from the Shortwave hall of fame: Margaret Sanger. Witnessing her mother die after 18 childbirths was enough to turn young Margaret into a nurse and woman’s health advocate for the rest of her life. She had 3 children herself then began her activist work in Greenwich Village circa 1910 where she started launching pamphlets with intriguing titles such as “Family Limitation” and “What every girl should know”.
After founding the flagrantly feminist paper “Woman Rebel” she subsequently went back and forth between the US and Europe dodging obscenity laws. After controversy had died down, she decided to reignite it by opening the first birth control clinic in the United States. She continued to open clinics and lecture widely for the rest of her life.
Reading her biographical information, it’s clear that Sanger’s views have been widely twisted and misconstrued in the past few decades since Roe v. Wade’s contentious aftermath. Sanger’s core belief was that every woman regardless of race or class has the right and the responsibility of complete control over the circumstances of conception. She condemned abortion and euthanasia outright, and while she did advocate for the improvement of the human race through better breeding, she opposed the brand of eugenics that promotes ethnic cleansing. A woman’s individual choice, she believed, was the only solution.
However there are many examples of her falling short of modernity. She believed, for example, that only “[the] feeble-minded, idiots and morons” should be forcibly prevented from reproducing or immigrating to the US. This was actually not so controversial for the times. Mostly people were just concerned she was talking to women about “hoo-has and caterpillars” . Because once the word got out, thousands of women were clamoring for Sanger to provide information on how to prevent unwanted pregnancy; posing a clear threat to the male control over medical information access. We all know that women talking in secret about their hoo-has has more than once been the harbinger of a revolution. But in reality this threat was minimal. The Victorian cultural hangover didn’t stop with Margaret Sanger, she was still doing her part to keep it alive and well.
“In my experience as a trained nurse while attending persons afflicted with various and often revolting diseases, no matter what their ailments, I have never found any one so repulsive as the chronic masturbator…In the boy or girl past puberty, we find one of the most dangerous forms of masturbation, i.e., mental masturbation, which consists of forming mental pictures, or thinking obscene or voluptuous pictures.This form is considered especially harmful to the brain, for the habit becomes so fixed that it is almost impossible to free the thoughts from lustful pictures”
Truly, there are few things more horrifying than the never-ending picture show of exciting lustful images that infect the brain and paralyze the nervous system. The author of this post herself had, at one time, such a terrible affliction which left her deaf and dumb after perpetually picturing people engaged in fornication. Her system was in such a state of shock she was unable to even blink or swallow her own saliva. However after a thorough exorcism by a local papal official – and being educated by Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy album -I’m proud to say I was back to normal, thinking only of ponies, rainbows, and how to make the best four-layer cake in the girlscout troop.
But while I was busy dreaming of ponies and rainbows, the boys were busy trying to impregnate me, and that’s where Sanger came in again. Planned Parenthood continues to be a source of education and medical access to women and families all over the country from a wide variety of backgrounds. Nobody has done more than Planned Parenthood to educate and serve the public on these matters.
It was only the turn of the century when Sanger was daring to talk openly about rubbing one out, why having 10+ babies is irrational and stupid, and why the pull-out method is for suckers. That makes her unequivocally “Top Rebel Bastard of the Year”. The fact that her legacy continues to allow millions of people to take control of their reproductive future is a testament to the strength of her core message. As Planned Parenthood is currently battling access to federal funding for their services, please take the opportunity to support Planned Parenthood in any way that you can, even if it’s just giving props to Mag-Sang on your next status update.